Jump to content

Kruger South to North September 2019: Rooineks and rare antelope


Tdgraves

Recommended Posts

michael-ibk

Excellent sightings and photos!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 113
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • Tdgraves

    59

  • TonyQ

    9

  • Peter Connan

    8

  • xelas

    6

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

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

Posted Images

Tdgraves

Day 7, Evening drive Satara, 6/9/19

 

The weather was miserable and the only reason we went on a short game drive was to try and warm up. The trouble with rondavels is that they are very good at staying cool. Theoretically, the air conditioning units can also heat, but ours did not and this was not something we had ever tried before. So fresh coffees in hand, we went out for half an hour with the heating from the car to warm us up! We went north from camp and encountered few other vehicles.

 

A hyaena was being harassed by a black-backed jackal for some scraps, which gave us good entertainment, although for a lot of it, they were far from the road

 

J19A7588

 

A couple from the OH on the 5D, which copes better with high ISO...

 

7T4A6035

 

 

7T4A6038

 

Back to camp and we light the braai immediately to get in out of the cold! I had hoped for a long shower to warm up, but unfortunately we had no hot water. This was the first time that we had needed to report a problem to SANParks and I must say, we were really impressed with the service they gave. An engineer and his mate arrived within 10 mins, worked out what part needed replacing and sorted it out! Another 30 mins later and we had piping hot water. An early night and hopes for better weather the following day....

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tdgraves

Day 8, Morning drive Satara, 7/9/19

 

Hopes for better weather were dashed and it soon became apparent that a cold front was coming through. As it was our first day in Satara, we took the S100, which was unusually quiet and then back via the H6. As we had not stopped much, only really for birds, we also then did the S126 and back to camp via the H7 tar road. It was 14 degrees when we left and only made it up to 19. I had the 5D today.

 

7T4A6060

 

 

7T4A6103

 

7T4A6122

 

7T4A6124

 

7T4A6132

 

7T4A6135

 

7T4A6150

 

7T4A6160

 

7T4A6167

 

Back to camp for lunch...

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tdgraves

Day 8, Evening drive Satara, 7/9/19

 

As the weather had not improved, it was another quiet drive. There were intermittent clouds and we went on a short trip south down the tar road and back. We had seen no elephants at all.

 

7T4A6192

 

There was a parked vehicle who excitedly told us what they had seen - a honey badger!

 

7T4A6196

 

Our only sighting of sandgrouse during the trip

 

 

7T4A6204

 

7T4A6209

 

One from the OH

 

J19A7695

 

And back to camp for another early braai

 

7T4A6225

 

7T4A6232

 

Where we were not the only cold creatures....

 

7T4A6268

 

He sat under the braai for a good 10 minutes warming up (they are metal ones in Satara)

Edited by Tdgraves
typo
Link to post
Share on other sites
Tdgraves

Day 9, Morning drive Satara, 8/9/19

 

It was cold again today 12 degrees when we left, rising to 21. I had the 7D and we decided to go cross-country west of Satara up towards Timbavati on the S40 and S39. Again, it was a day of mainly birds.

 

J19A7700

 

J19A7730

 

J19A7735

 

We found a pair of brown-hooded kingfishers bathing, which was a good distraction, as there was a large elephant blocking the road ahead!

 

J19A7807

 

J19A7844

 

J19A7851

 

J19A7866

 

 

J19A7873

 

J19A7882

 

J19A7885

 

J19A7900

 

J19A7911

 

J19A7922

 

Time for breakfast

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tdgraves

Day 9, Birding around camp, Satara, 8/9/19

 

Given the weather, I was not hopeful about this, but I couldn't sleep, so what did I have to lose?

 

A brown-headed parrot was so intent on eating, that it was very obligin

 

J19A7952

 

J19A7971

 

J19A7985

 

J19A7994

 

I then found a tree teeming with birds

 

J19A8011

 

J19A8017

 

J19A8042

 

J19A8049

 

J19A8055

 

J19A8059

 

J19A8070

 

I even found a new bird, a white-throated robin-chat

 

J19A8003

 

J19A8072

 

J19A8091

 

And then a tree right next to our room was also very productive...

 

J19A8121

 

J19A8128

 

J19A8140

 

J19A8147

 

J19A8153

 

Time for a game drive....

Link to post
Share on other sites
TonyQ

The early birding certainly paid off!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tdgraves

Day 9, Evening game drive Satara, 8/9/19

 

The skies had cleared and it had got up to 24 degrees. We decided to go along the H6 and soon found a couple of stationary vehicles. There were a couple of lions asleep in the grass...

 

J19A8174

 

Can you spot them? We thought that we would wait. And wait. And wait. Several other vehicles came and went and I'm not convinced that they all knew why we were there. Everyone was hoping that as the sun dropped, something would happen, but all we got were a couple of rolls...

 

J19A8182

 

Not much strain on the memory cards tonight!!

 

Although it had warmed up considerably, we still had a visitor to our braai (and had worked out a better way of illuminating it!)

 

7T4A6350

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tdgraves

Day 9, Morning game drive Satara, 9/9/19

 

As it was a transfer day, we planned a short drive, to the end of the S100 and back. There were quite a lot of vehicles leaving camp and we worried that we would be stuck in their dust, but everyone seemed to go in a different directions at the crossroads. I had the 5D today and it was only 8 degrees when we left camp (brrrr) but rapidly warmed to 20 degrees.

 

Sunrise from our room

 

7T4A6274

 

And the nice sunrise light continued..

 

7T4A6356

 

7T4A6358

 

We soon caught up with a couple of vehicles that were stopped at some sleeping lions (only feet were visible). But patience paid off, as they did actually get up this time, albeit behind the tall grass...

 

7T4A6366

 

7T4A6369

 

Before moving off quickly into the bush

 

7T4A6373

 

7T4A6376

 

7T4A6378

 

7T4A6379

 

As we went around a bend on the river, I noticed movement on the opposite bank - a male lion. The car in front of us literally just missed it and drove on.

 

7T4A6391

 

Ans then there was a female - a mating pair! Subsequent vehicles came and went, apparently not appreciating mating behaviour, in that they would definitely get up in the next 15-20 mins and all moved off, leaving us alone with them for the next round.

 

A bit further down the road was a larger traffic jam, for more lions!

 

7T4A6453

 

This was the closest one to us, but it was a coalition of 4 males, including one white lion

 

7T4A6457

 

7T4A6492

 

7T4A6497

 

It was difficult due to our position to get them moving off...

 

7T4A6530

 

7T4A6535

 

We were getting a bit anxious about time as we had to check out at 10 am. Luckily, we were very near to the end of the S100 and after quickly checking out the dam, we turned around and made for camp. We found another stationary vehicle, with a very large lens pointing out to the right, across the road. I was on the passenger side and could not see anything, when all of a sudden, a leopard crossed the road! These are the only proof shots that I managed to fire off..

 

7T4A6552

 

7T4A6555

 

Not bad for a short drive! Our first S100 leopard and 3 separate lion sightings! Back to camp to checkout and have breakfast at the restaurant.

Link to post
Share on other sites
xelas

African sunrise is almost as good as African sunset. And animals in golden light are just golden!

Link to post
Share on other sites
shazdwn

Fantastic sights and fabulous shots - I really like the ele in the rain.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tdgraves

Day 9, Transfer Satara to Shingwedzi, 9/9/19

 

Another long drive and it meant that we would not be staying in Letaba, our usual next destination from Satara. This time, it would be for a quick lunch stop only, but it was still nice to see the place. Spring had returned and the 25 degrees rapidly climbed to 30. As we were leaving camp, I spotted a hoopoe with a kill..

 

7T4A6565

 

7T4A6568

 

Then it was time to go...

 

7T4A6572

 

7T4A6578

 

We caught a glimpse of a pair of secretary birds - a Kruger first, but the heat haze put paid to even proof shots!

 

7T4A6596

 

7T4A6597

 

7T4A6622

 

7T4A6633

 

The further north you travel, the more elephants you see..

 

7T4A6643

 

7T4A6664

 

7T4A6667

 

 

7T4A6672

 

7T4A6677

 

 

More rare buck - tsessebe. I don''t think we have seen these before in the Kruger...

 

J19A8385

 

J19A8387

 

Somewhere near Mopani, the car in front pointed out our next rare buck - eland, our first ever KNP sighting, as far as I can recall

 

7T4A6690

 

Another comfort break at Mopani and it was back on the road again. There was very little to see and we were getting tired. The spur road into camp had lots of vehicles parked in laybys next to the river. We couldn't see what they were looking at and so stopped to ask someone. "Apparently there are four lions here" she said "but we can't see them". By reversing a couple of metres, we were able to see a mating pair through the bushes...

 

7T4A6697

 

We took a couple of proof shots, but were keen to check into camp (and get out of the car) so we didn't stay long. We did however drive forwards again and explain to the lady in the car how she would be able to see them, she was incredibly grateful! I wonder how long they had been sat there desperately searching for phantom lions? 

 

As we drove into camp, we realised that we had stopped here before, for a comfort break when we drove from the Outpost to Satara, it's amazing what you forget!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tdgraves

Day 9, Evening drive, Shingwedzi, 9/9/19

 

As we had already had a long day, we decided just to drive a short loop from camp to the waterhole and back.

 

7T4A6703

 

7T4A6707

 

7T4A6712

 

7T4A6722

 

7T4A6724

 

7T4A6735

 

7T4A6744

 

Back to light the braai...

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tdgraves

Day 10, Morning drive, Shingwedzi, 10/9/19

 

It had been clear overnight and so the temperature was only 8 degrees when we left, but with beautiful clear skies came sunshine and it rapidly climbed to 24 when we got back. I had the 7D today and we decided to go north and do the Mphongolo loop, which is mainly along the riverside and we could then stop at the Babala picnic site and then turn back south on the main road. Once we got to the river, it was teeming with birds...

 

J19A8427

 

J19A8431

 

J19A8436

 

J19A8445

 

J19A8530

 

J19A8548

 

J19A8482

 

J19A8456

 

J19A8465

 

J19A8474

 

This was the best white-fronted bee-eater sighting that we had in the trip and he gave us a good show, during which, the few cars that had caught up to us all passed.

 

J19A8505

 

J19A8525

 

I was trying to catch weaver birds when I heard munching...

 

J19A8531

 

and on the other side of the car, a slender mongoose had just caught a snake for breakfast!

 

J19A8539

 

J19A8543

 

We had another close white-headed vulture sighting

 

J19A8563

 

J19A8573

 

J19A8671

 

A few from the OH and the 5D (on the river side of the car, as I was driving)

 

7T4A6750

 

7T4A6757

 

7T4A6783

 

7T4A6794

 

As I drove around yet another bend in the road, I was commanded to "Stop! Don't move!" which is very unusual. A small amount of movement had caught his eye on the opposite side of the river bed. A leopard!!

 

7T4A6807

 

A few seconds earlier or later and I'm sure that he would not have seen it. Afterwards, we remembered that a few minutes earlier we had heard a strange noise coming from the same place, which was obviously a leopard growl in retrospect, but not a noise one hears every safari, let alone every day!

 

7T4A6817

 

It was clearly a bit spooked, as it sat on the opposite back, looking left and right for a while before deciding to cross, directly towards us!!

 

7T4A6818

 

7T4A6820

 

7T4A6822

 

We were going to struggle with the bush and bank of this side of river, so we crept forwards past the bushes apparent on the above shot

 

7T4A6830

 

And got rewarded with a closer glimpse. The river here was very bendy with a steep bank (you can see we were looking down onto it) and when we lost it, I was then slowly going backwards and forwards, trying to see if it would come up, or if had stopped somewhere in the river bed. The OH had just declared that we had lost it, when around the next bend, there it was, right next to the road! "Here it is!" I said, as I selflessly positioned the car at an angle to give him the best chance of crossing the road shots, and look what he managed...

 

7T4A6831

 

7T4A6833

 

7T4A6834

 

7T4A6835

 

7T4A6836

 

7T4A6843

 

And after it crossed, I finally had a chance!

 

J19A8644J19A8645

 

What a sighting, all to ourselves and at 8.30am! I don't think we stopped grinning for the rest of the drive. We were not expecting leopards up north and to have nice light and the ability to get into the correct position was a complete surprise.

 

J19A8664

 

A quick pit stop at the picnic site, where these waxbills were drinking and it was back to camp

 

J19A8678

 

tbc....

Link to post
Share on other sites
TonyQ

Excellent Leopard sighting and photos.

Good to have clear orders to stop!

Link to post
Share on other sites
xelas
2 hours ago, Tdgraves said:

I don't think we stopped grinning for the rest of the drive.

And rightly so! 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Towlersonsafari

What a splendid spot @Tdgraves lovely  photos and the snake eating mongoose as well!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Zim Girl

Wonderful leopard sighting and pictures to go with it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Peter Connan

Lovely sightings!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tdgraves

Day 10, Evening drive, Shingwedzi, 10/9/19

 

Due to the excitement about the leopard, I missed the last few photos out from the morning...

 

J19A8718

 

J19A8725

 

J19A8734

 

J19A8740

 

I had a rather hot and fruitless bird walk around camp at lunchtime. Our room was really close to the east gate, so the OH's last words to me before I set off were "don't go near the gate". This is why...

 

J19A8748

 

taken from our stoop, a rather large ele, just on the other side of the fence!!

 

J19A8752

 

J19A8778

 

For the drive, we went south, to where the remains of a dam are, damaged by flooding and due to be demolished. As there was no loop, it was difficult to judge how far to go. There was a bird hide on the map, but this was of course now defunct, due to the lack of the dam!

 

J19A8784

 

J19A8789

 

J19A8824

 

J19A8836

 

J19A8842

 

 

J19A8849

 

J19A8856

 

one from the OH

 

7T4A6885

 

As we had predicted, we had turned around too soon. We decided to go back to camp and out to the waterhole, to see if there was anything there. As soon as we turned onto the main road, we caught up with someone driving extremely slowly. I was just starting to get annoyed, when the reason for their behaviour became apparent - a lioness....

 

J19A8870

 

She was cunningly positioned next to a side road, so was visible from both. Despite there being a few vehicles present, we were able to get the best spot, as no one really seemed to want to get any closer...

 

J19A8914

 

J19A8923

 

J19A8926

 

We were hopeful that the male was somewhere, especially as a SANParks OSV went that way, but we did not spot him on the continuation of the side road, which leads into the back of camp.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tdgraves

Day 11, Morning drive, Shingwedzi, 11/9/19

 

It was a little warmer today when we left at 11 degrees, getting up to 22. I had the 5D. It was another transfer day, so we couldn't go too far and decided upon the red rocks loop, after first checking out the waterhole, where we had a better tssesebe sighting...

 

7T4A6911

 

7T4A6912

 

The rest of the drive was pretty quiet though

 

7T4A6922

 

7T4A6931

 

We also got slightly lost, as the signs are slightly confusing, but we also had a bonus toilet break! There was a view point close by, so we thought we might as well have a look and when we got there, there were facilities not on the map!

 

Towards the main road, we came across a stationary car and no sooner had we stopped, then we realised why - a leopard had been sitting under a bush, waiting to go back to its' kill...unfortunately, we had scared it off. The occupants of the vehicle were not annoyed with us, as it had been very skittish since they had arrived

 

7T4A6937

 

 

7T4A6938

 

We were told of another leopard sighting on the main road en route back to camp, but by the time we got there, nothing. Time to pack up and then breakfast in the restaurant.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy