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Kruger January 2022: A return after the pandemic and to default Afrikaans


Tdgraves
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I wasn't sure whether to do a belated TR for this, our first safari since COVID, but as I have finally had time to look through the photos and with two weeks before we go to Kenya (finally) I thought I'd give it a go and try and finish it before departure. We were in the Kgalagadi in January 2020 and our scheduled trip to Kenya in August 2020 got moved to October 2021 and then to September 2022. I had Joburg flights booked for January 2021, but South Africa remained stubbornly on HMG's red list and despite moving it a few times, we did not manage to return until this January. It was the only time we have been on a flight that was not full, despite being reduced to a once daily 777. Heathrow was eerily empty and most of the shops were already closed for our late departure. Our pre-departure PCR test results were available within hours, despite paying for the 24 hour service. There was a very detailed arrivals health questionnaire which we duly completed. This was collected in OR Tambo without being looked at by the person collecting it and presumably, not afterwards either! The arrivals process was very smooth, helped by having a stand right next to immigration, rather than walking from right at the end of the terminal. Our rental was also upgraded, I guess due to the global car shortage and we were off. First stop shopping for food and wine and then lunch. As the cafe had wifi, I decided to check my email, which I would not usually do. There was a frantic message from the owners of the B&B we were booked into for that night to call them, so I did. The current occupant of our intended room had just undergone a PCR fit for travel test and it had come back positive, so he had to stay there in self-isolation. We were booked into their sister property 5 minutes down the road and put into their largest suite to compensate. It wasn't really to our taste, but the food was great and we were well rested prior to our short drive to Marievale the next day.

 

Our itinerary was:

 

14th Arrive, shopping etc.

15th Marievale and then on to Berg en Dal

16th Berg en Dal

17th Skukuza

18th Skukuza

19th Skukuza

20th Lower Sabie

21st Lower Sabie

22nd Lower Sabie

23rd Satara

24th Satara

25th Satara

26th Letaba

27th Letaba

28th Pretoria

29th Rietvlei with @Peter Connan and then fly home

 

A little taster of the park...

 

51967418256_4af74be0eb_k.jpgJ19A5038 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

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Marievale Bird Sanctuary

 

As there had been good rains a few weeks prior to our arrival, this was the most flooded that we had known. A small intimate hide that had yielded good photos in the past, now looked out over a vast lake, but fortunately the light was lovely and a few birds obliged. A couple of the routes were closed due to the conditions and we declined to use others with our heavy 2WD vehicle.

 

51933689183_7c0a82c725_k.jpg7T4A4025a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933691338_0cafd246ce_k.jpg7T4A4060a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933943549_0ac40cf264_k.jpg7T4A4051a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933945384_af9e164980_k.jpg7T4A4091a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51891108149_e043b5f9b7_k.jpg7T4A4170a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932642322_d3fcb29a78_k.jpg7T4A4106a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933949269_5659faea4a_k.jpg7T4A4114a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933696558_c1284dfc4c_k.jpg7T4A4199a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933631126_fce868fc48_k.jpg7T4A4267a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933959019_d921656a1a_k.jpg7T4A4286a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932653437_23f259610a_k.jpg7T4A4305a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933960914_8485901890_k.jpg7T4A4319a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51890768711_efd98310b4_k.jpg7T4A4369a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51934255430_538f23ea7e_k.jpg7T4A4380a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

from the OH

 

51931229762_6e04770933_k.jpgJ19A1211a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51931257597_86efc89810_k.jpgJ19A1278a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

It quickly clouded over and we saw fewer birds than on previous occasions, a combination of the areas not covered, the weather conditions and no doubt, not having @Peter Connanas our driver-guide! Anyway, we had a very pleasant morning and once we had eaten the packed breakfast provided by the B&B, we were on our way. The drive was uneventful and the roadworks that seemed to have been ongoing for years had now been completed. There is also a new service station, approximately 1 hour prior to the gate, which is very convenient for comfort breaks!

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7 hours ago, Tdgraves said:

A little taster of the park...

 An amazing taster to start off and then great bird photos leave me looking forward to more.

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Day 1: Berg-en-Dal evening drive

 

The first thing that we notice about the park is that the staff have defaulted to using Afrikaans as their first language when speaking to guests. This was the case when we first started visiting the park, but over the years, with the increase in international tourists, this rapidly changed to English. I guess COVID closures and then when the parks finally reopened, the only guests were South African and usually they are white South Africans, hence the language change. The other thing we noticed was that none of the camps were as full as we were used to. Great for us, not so good for the SANParks revenues...

 

We unpacked and went out for a short evening drive, it was quite hot at 30 degrees. We went up the Matjulu loop in the mountain and across the S110 and back to camp. On leaving camp we immediately found elephants and rhino. Sadly, this is really the only area of the park where you can now expect to see these magnificent beasts. Otherwise, it was mainly birds.

 

51932985298_7f8d9207bb_k.jpg7T4A4422a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933525040_2a6ea36150_k.jpg7T4A4411a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933527595_a82bb3b94a_k.jpg7T4A4418a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932986868_f5cf45a97c_k.jpg7T4A4445a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932913251_7eb0ee98f8_k.jpg7T4A4467a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933244484_2876d1a087_k.jpg7T4A4476a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51931942877_11b8d1aff0_k.jpg7T4A4486a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

This was our first of many sightings of Diederik's cuckoo. And from the OH...

 

51932216866_aa2fad3087_k.jpgJ19A1436a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932549879_7e3864cf6c_k.jpgJ19A1439a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932859125_66cdda2c05_k.jpgJ19A1463a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51931250702_cd293aecad_k.jpgJ19A1452a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

Back to camp for a shower and dinner in the restaurant.

 

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Day 2 : Berg-en-Dal morning drive

 

It was a fresher 23 degrees when we left camp, rising to 29 on our return from a fairly lengthy drive. We went across to the Biyamiti weir, up to the Afsaal picnic site and then back via Steiberg. Again we saw eles and rhino near camp, but not close enough to stop for photos. 

 

52070678546_dd9a6d1370_k.jpg7T4A4489 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52069633092_4f298cb3fd_k.jpg7T4A4500 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52070688993_0bbef19f4c_k.jpg7T4A4511 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52070916419_6ca8cfef52_k.jpg7T4A4549 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

As you can see, the grass was very lush and tall due to the recent rains. Which meant we could barely see the two large male lions who had stopped by the side of the road for a nap, let along photograph them!

 

52314239061_448871c505_k.jpg7T4A4555 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

A few minutes later this one went flat and as his colleague was slightly down the verge, it would have been impossible to see them when driving along..

 

52069641762_eb47ba2310_k.jpg7T4A4577 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

Next up was a pride of lions, spread out along the riverbed. Again viewing was an issue due to the undulating ground and the bush, but as there were only a couple of vehicles, which soon left, we could go forward and backwards to get the optimum position

 

52071165880_62ad2bde1b_k.jpg7T4A4585 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52069645367_a173d98168_k.jpg7T4A4612 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52070701258_1c5394cbf5_k.jpg7T4A4634 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52071175815_23d73d2d7d_k.jpg7T4A4685 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52069653017_856b09e69f_k.jpg7T4A4692 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52070933509_b4da620423_k.jpg7T4A4695 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52070709648_cbb3684b18_k.jpg7T4A4697 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52071181420_c4eb11f745_k.jpg7T4A4702 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52070705866_50419a9e4a_k.jpg7T4A4710 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52070706676_1866edb181_k.jpg7T4A4731 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

From the tar road south, another pair of lions having a rest in the shade on top of a giant rock. Courtesy of the OH who had a better view

 

51931310382_6e21514516_k.jpgJ19A1635a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

At some point we also had a brief glimpse of a honey badger and some buffalo. Back to camp for breakfast, where these guys were a bit closer....

 

52314258316_f4a8a6ce04_k.jpg7T4A4734 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

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Day 2: Walk around camp

 

Unless I am feeling particularly tired, I tend to do a bird walk around camp in the middle of the day and this will often reveal good birds. However, it was the first time here for ages where we did not see a purple-crested turaco in camp.

 

51932101087_4dea0fda3e_k.jpg7T4A4757a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932105352_0cd43f995e_k.jpg7T4A4792a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933416729_7a05247dbe_k.jpg7T4A4803a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933163543_26c13401fa_k.jpg7T4A4806a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932112277_0afec411d1_k.jpg7T4A4822a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52038237290_b701561df2_k.jpg7T4A4798a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52037769858_e3c700234b_k.jpg7T4A4838a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933717270_72a6dfc140_k.jpg7T4A4859a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932095677_e6c6dce810_k.jpg7T4A4736a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

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Day 2: Evening drive

 

It had started to cloud over by the time we were preparing to set off and again it was 30 degrees. We did a loop with part of the S25 and then back to the tar road and it was pretty quiet. There was obviously a leopard that had been seen in the area, as every time we passed the T-junction onto the main north/south road there were a few vehicles parked, but we never saw it despite a few tries. 

 

Juvenile red-backed shrikes were everywhere and when we were trying to expand our bird list towards the end of the trip invariably every time we stopped as we thought it was a new species, it was another b*****y RBS!

 

52070937639_bf906f6978_k.jpg7T4A4908 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51931314232_e535ff09e0_k.jpgJ19A1658a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

Our first close encounter, from the OH

 

51932372528_26a065acb7_k.jpgJ19A1665a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932913445_51fb306c34_k.jpgJ19A1663a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932632309_d84c5495fc_k.jpgJ19A1677a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932307021_7002e89041_k.jpgJ19A1683a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932309416_5a18d93ff9_k.jpgJ19A1685a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

We met a foraging family of ground hornbills which were on the correct side of the vehicle for me!

 

52070926949_3754e16655_k.jpg7T4A4922 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

Back to camp for our first braai of the trip...

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Stunning pictures, enjoyed watching them.

 

Thanks

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Day 3: Morning drive

 

It had rained overnight and it was very dull and gloomy as we set off, with fine drizzle, but the temperature was similar, 23 rising to 30. We set off via the Steinberg and then via the S118 loop. Again, there were lots of birds...

 

51933130176_6ac9f25b6b_k.jpgJ19A1718a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933746440_8fb94ea963_k.jpgJ19A1720a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52038070604_306f77d7ef_k.jpgJ19A1723 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932156462_4d3332ba0d_k.jpgJ19A1725a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933468374_89e617a4f3_k.jpgJ19A1728a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933477914_d0e3e7d3c6_k.jpgJ19A1737a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

We heard ground hornbill but could not locate them and a large flock of egrets flew over

 

51933229718_c08d652b08_k.jpgJ19A1745a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932188512_149055fd02_k.jpgJ19A1758a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52037821396_3455ca82ce_k.jpgJ19A1774 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933180541_69cf4ec069_k.jpgJ19A1786a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933184796_4b33e261be_k.jpgJ19A1788a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

We encountered two male lions, again right next to the road and again, very difficult to see as there was a very narrow angle between bushes. From the OH who was on the correct side of the vehicle

 

51932625513_f80178fff1_k.jpg7T4A4963a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932653753_220ed42a41_k.jpg7T4A4976a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

More birds from me..

 

52037876513_9d8c261ef1_k.jpgJ19A1793 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932206532_b273f4bd2f_k.jpgJ19A1796a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52038341930_2daf31a05b_k.jpgJ19A1799 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932224832_9276caa17f_k.jpgJ19A1804a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933830080_4e4afc9d3c_k.jpgJ19A1807a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933218161_077dd1d356_k.jpgJ19A1808a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52037824831_139f1bca82_k.jpgJ19A1817 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52038075454_2b85a1c676_k.jpgJ19A1825 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

Back to camp to pack up and have breakfast in the restaurant...

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A great start. I am pleased you decided to do a report

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Day 3: Transfer from Berg-en-Dal to Skukuza

 

After breakfast, there were a couple of birds around the restaurant.

 

51932154052_36b215737c_k.jpgJ19A1832a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933214833_18efc2857f_k.jpgJ19A1844a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933144626_79dd7daa41_k.jpgJ19A1847a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

It became more and more overcast and then a fine rain started. The vultures sensed this and were gathering on dome dead trees next to the road....

 

51933224118_056d0b87ce_k.jpgJ19A1856a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933220463_b4adf32ef2_k.jpgJ19A1854a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933777550_494ab4838c_k.jpgJ19A1858a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52044870994_aaf813db15_k.jpgJ19A1862 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52044618351_a650f0509d_k.jpgJ19A1864 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933265993_d8e273f13d_k.jpgJ19A1873a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52044874519_4b03388adb_k.jpgJ19A1879 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933279943_2904a2f4e6_k.jpgJ19A1897a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52043578732_a0a85ed1b9_k.jpgJ19A1904 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933294958_fe37326185_k.jpgJ19A1905a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932247627_fbe9da9d5a_k.jpgJ19A1930a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

Although we again saw some rhino and buffalo, it was really birds that were about in the rain.

 

51933240561_ccf326c4f3_k.jpgJ19A1938a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933248791_9243b1b986_k.jpgJ19A1942a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52044684088_e20b2c7288_k.jpgJ19A1945 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

And another sighting of Diederik's cuckoo

 

52045138830_7ab2f36fa2_k.jpgJ19A1951 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933269106_7d4fa8854f_k.jpgJ19A1969a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

Although we did see this shy hyaena cub

 

51933343903_c5137054bd_k.jpgJ19A1983a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

Into camp just after check in time to unpack and relax

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Day 3: Evening drive Skukuza

 

It had been quite a long day, so we planned only a short drive over the low river bridges to start and then probably doing a U turn at some point. Little did we know how short it would be when we left camp. It was still cloudy, but a bit brighter and 29 degrees. Around the rivers there were the usual suspects...

 

51932546321_de39ea7af8_k.jpg7T4A5046a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932154477_0ef02e6e84_k.jpgJ19A1994a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933144976_2e16d2e297_k.jpgJ19A2003a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932536461_1d3ecbdd95_k.jpg7T4A5045a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

It was my turn to drive and we had just passed the exit to the airport road, when we were confronted with this (all from OH, as I could not get a good angle for myself when driving) .

 

51931568192_ae5f560d6a_k.jpg7T4A5048a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932584301_9dd5edce14_k.jpg7T4A5061a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

Once she had done her business, she set off towards us - cue some hasty reversing! Luckily, the only other vehicle was a SANParks one and they were very gracious

 

51931610332_5c1dca1d84_k.jpg7T4A5062a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51931619097_f6eeb6e165_k.jpg7T4A5065a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51931727797_9d19168ead_k.jpg7T4A5078a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932793453_86e05c7697_k.jpg7T4A5081a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932800633_bb293aa2a2_k.jpg7T4A5083a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932822903_d263e8e16d_k.jpg7T4A5090a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51931779157_a224e8f7ef_k.jpg7T4A5098a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932766411_a887a88131_k.jpg7T4A5100a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

She went into the bush, cutting the corner from the road. Luckily she was calling, so it was worth trying to relocate her. The airport road is only supposed to be for access to the airstrip, but luckily, when we eventually relocated her, she was only just past the entrance, so I felt that this was ok. Now I could take some photos too, albeit in trickier circumstances...

 

51933777225_d8e114d4d3_k.jpgJ19A2020a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933170666_54577be2ef_k.jpgJ19A2028a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933520404_52d71ba878_k.jpgJ19A2049a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933821975_9b54e31781_k.jpgJ19A2058a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932245377_2cff312de3_k.jpgJ19A2096a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932259602_463f8e1bca_k.jpgJ19A2116a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933252556_542738f68c_k.jpgJ19A2133a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

She came out behind us to cross the road, but I couldn't manoeuvre in time, as a commercial van driver was parked having a break (I don't know if he was watching the leopard as well). The OH got this one leaning backwards out of the window

 

51931808872_77c840bb4c_k.jpg7T4A5152a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

 

She was then in very deep bush and although we kept hearing her, we could not see her. A couple of vehicles stopped and asked us what we had seen, most only stayed briefly. One stayed longer and parked up much further along the road, where they spotted her resting in a tree, before she finally moved off out of our sight.

 

51933584209_8f1574994d_k.jpgJ19A2138a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

Our longest and probably best Kruger leopard sighting ever and all just a few Kms out of camp. A short drive indeed!

 

51933877795_239d5c1ba7_k.jpgJ19A2159a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

Time for dinner in the Cattle Baron restaurant. Now there is a choice of three, as the Selati train restaurant has reopened (excellent) and there is also one in the new lodge (not tested).

 

Edit: I forgot to add that this made day 3 a rare thing on a Kruger trip - a big five day.

Edited by Tdgraves
typo
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What a brilliant leopard sighting, and photos!

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Day 4: Morning drive, Skukuza

 

It was very cloudy with intermittent rain and only 23 degrees when we left camp. Of course, we decided to go to where we had seen the leopard first, but no luck. So we completed the triangle around the river, to the Nkulu picnic site and then across the S21 and back via the S114. 

 

52039932393_1bd56961b2_k.jpg7T4A5162 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933531935_87486eae55_k.jpg7T4A5163a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932990628_7e93728210_k.jpg7T4A5172a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933244904_4f7ad2f2fb_k.jpg7T4A5182a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

We saw a young hyaena going back to the den

 

51933249089_148f9f96b1_k.jpg7T4A5195a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932926086_af85fb9e5a_k.jpg7T4A5211a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933257489_64f83586af_k.jpg7T4A5219a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933263209_ce6fca05e0_k.jpg7T4A5249a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

and more birds

 

52041864761_a6e131219c_k.jpg7T4A5256 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52042114559_f1dc2bd0fe_k.jpg7T4A5280 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933267689_2360364bc0_k.jpg7T4A5288a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51931961697_e98d0bf183_k.jpg7T4A5306a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933562135_bdf047eadf_k.jpg7T4A5310a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52040821422_214307acb0_k.jpg7T4A5331 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52040821827_ca55654d1e_k.jpg7T4A5343 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933285284_73058d6fcb_k.jpg7T4A5351a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51931980047_e386baf8b9_k.jpg7T4A5356a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

and a nyala

 

51931955842_cb4690f5db_k.jpg7T4A5267a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

from the OH

 

51931378457_e536a8e58f_k.jpgJ19A2229a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51931416172_ef16283460_k.jpgJ19A2277a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932713509_cbfff7c57b_k.jpgJ19A2244a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

yet another Diederic's cuckoo!

 

51932465273_73616a393a_k.jpgJ19A2257a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

I have written down two hyaena sightings, but only have photos of one, so must assume that the other was brief. Back to camp for a well earnt breakfast.

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Towlersonsafari

lovely  leopard sighting!

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Day 4: afternoon walk around camp

 

Birding was not as productive as previous occasions. One area that used to be good has now been built on, but I saw a few things

 

51933413389_9668201aa7_k.jpg7T4A5364a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933702155_4e0fccb94b_k.jpg7T4A5376a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933702155_4e0fccb94b_k.jpg7T4A5376a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933090441_6b928e28bc_k.jpg7T4A5393a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

now back to go for a drive

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Day 4: Skukuza evening drive

 

It was 30 degrees and sunny (hoorah!) when we left camp. We started at Lake Panic, but due to the high water, this was not as good as usual, so we didn't stay long.

 

51932922111_71ddff2734_k.jpg7T4A5403a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933250784_af5ee424f1_k.jpg7T4A5407a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933538035_ff55611143_k.jpg7T4A5400a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933252499_a3c28c6ab0_k.jpg7T4A5411a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

We decided to do a short drive along the south side of the river and loops. We saw elephants and some general game, as well as some birds.

 

51933253939_a63974af28_k.jpg7T4A5428a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933545210_8b1a8aba72_k.jpg7T4A5435a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

I only seem to have photos of birds, so these are from the OH

 

51932936800_539acfce7a_k.jpgJ19A2304a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932940840_270ce43315_k.jpgJ19A2305a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51931350237_d9642ffd7a_k.jpgJ19A2308a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

Back to camp for a braai

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Day 5: Skukuza morning drive

 

It was 19 degrees and sunny when we left, 27 upon our return. We did a triangle with the S65. We literally just missed a leopard at the start of this road. We could see impalas on high alert and the vehicle who saw it pointed where it had run off to after crossing the road, but it was already long gone :(

 

51933468074_aac3c38530_k.jpgJ19A2322a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

At the end of the road, we were told of another leopard at the nearby dam, but despite very specific directions, we failed to find that either!! So it was mainly birds again...

 

52047781333_f933369cfb_k.jpgJ19A2330 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52047980614_322ca38baa_k.jpgJ19A2335 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932175102_845e715ff0_k.jpgJ19A2340a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

another DC

 

51933235593_db65d62c46_k.jpgJ19A2345a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933492699_ce21160745_k.jpgJ19A2349a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52047981234_584cdd89f3_k.jpgJ19A2351 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52047981914_c21ce73198_k.jpgJ19A2355 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52046689937_c381b36471_k.jpgJ19A2360 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52048242980_ae75a27fae_k.jpgJ19A2375 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933533544_f639255bff_k.jpgJ19A2379a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

We found a pair of giraffe sizing each other up half-heartedly

 

51933280668_6ba7823e3a_k.jpgJ19A2382a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933577864_42214ef461_k.jpgJ19A2409a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933266036_826ac4383b_k.jpgJ19A2429a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932285147_b7d34945b6_k.jpgJ19A2430a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933345818_d4980bdec8_k.jpgJ19A2439a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

Back for breakfast...

Edited by Tdgraves
extra photo
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Day 5: walk around camp

 

A few more birds today

 

51931164602_52ea551894_k.jpgJ19A2530 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932223393_ded059ea1c_k.jpgJ19A2453 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932145831_b7830b444b_k.jpgJ19A2466 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932474714_0604fed4fd_k.jpgJ19A2483 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932223033_7dac0862d3_k.jpgJ19A2488 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52037766113_e43d8bb190_k.jpgJ19A2493 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52038233145_e3d6d9ceb9_k.jpgJ19A2508 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52037712696_3ac6e8f17b_k.jpgJ19A2528 by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

and it was hot, so we went to the pool afterwards to cool off prior to our evening drive.

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Day 5: Skukuza evening drive

 

For this, we decided on a route that we have never driven before, the S3. There was a short loop where we could turn back, or we could complete the entire (long) road. It was 30 degrees and sunny.

 

51933146766_2a34758936_k.jpgJ19A2533a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933151361_5fe2a48b8f_k.jpgJ19A2564a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933775720_55c9cd0212_k.jpgJ19A2573a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52245067315_f7acfbb870_k.jpgJ19A2572a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932195147_e06713b0c2_k.jpgJ19A2594a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

The start of the road was very pretty, but we very soon came to the end of the loop and so decided to continue. This turned out to be an error. We came across a male elephant slowly walking up the road in front of us. He did not seem interested in turning off or crossing, although he frequently stopped to eat. 

 

51932226742_93e6236cfa_k.jpgJ19A2644a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

Eventually he had enough of us following at what we thought was a reasonable distance behind, so he turned around and retraced his footsteps. Cue some twisty-turny reversing. He did not stop coming. Unfortunately, we soon came across a couple of other cars coming from the opposite direction. One saw what was happening and also reversed quick-smart. The other did not or would not see what was happening. They stopped behind us such that there was nowhere for us to go, given the narrow, twisting road. When I leant out of the window to show the urgency of the situation, I was given the finger! This was the only time in all of our visits when we have seen or received such stupidity and rudeness. Whether they just saw sense, or perhaps saw the huge elephant bearing down on us all, they eventually joined in the reversing train. Thankfully, after a good distance in reverse, Mr Elephant got bored and moved off. But this left us further back along the road with many kms to go back to camp before the gates closed. So it was Ferrari safari from that point on. Unfortunately, this was not our last encounter with a bad elephant, but it was the last of bad people.

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Dave Williams

I must admit Elephants are not on my wish list, in fact I am happy not to see any whilst on a drive. As for the rude driver I can only empathise, there are a few about unfortunately but they are still a minority thankfully.

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Day 6, Skukuza morning drive

 

It started at 23 and made it to 30 degrees, but unfortunately it was cloudy with light rain and winds, a portent of the weather to come. We went across to the Tshokwane picnic site and back. 

 

51932998228_6976e240bd_k.jpg7T4A5575a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51931946332_faf87015bb_k.jpg7T4A5581a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51931337437_b959fc10bb_k.jpgJ19A2654a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932321471_3936074300_k.jpgJ19A2656a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932943720_7c9dbc8ec7_k.jpgJ19A2658a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51931368952_375b9f6606_k.jpgJ19A2690a by tdgraves, on Flickr+

 

52268867031_903fe62f2a_k.jpg7T4A5608a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

We came across a small herd of impala stretching their legs

 

51931946332_faf87015bb_k.jpg7T4A5581a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

this was the only decent photo that I managed

 

51932443738_984a53c1df_k.jpgJ19A2698a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

We found a couple of hyaena in a drain at the T-junction just before the picnic site and stayed for a while as the sun had come out

 

51933550280_025a38e2ba_k.jpg7T4A5615a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933550965_70fc2c876e_k.jpg7T4A5618a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52268886428_17a5fd0b29_k.jpg7T4A5623a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51931955407_6320d2a237_k.jpg7T4A5626a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933267354_5417da2adb_k.jpg7T4A5632a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933268069_33cc7f5f22_k.jpg7T4A5636a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

Whilst we were sat watching, a vehicle arrived and told us that there were a pack of sleeping wild dogs down the T-junction road. When I asked "how far?" I was given the precise answer "1.3km" from her SatNav, so we were off. Despite the instructions, we thought that we had missed them and after about 1.5km we turned round despondent. However, when we found them, it was immediately apparent why we had not seen them in the other direction - the grass was very long and the camber of the road also took us above the line of sight of their sleeping quarters. Even after we stopped, I could not initially see the dogs that the OH was looking at - I spotted some a bit further back from the road under a different bush!

 

51932942096_addb46d271_k.jpg7T4A5646a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933275359_d4964b89b4_k.jpg7T4A5653a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

Luckily they hadn't properly settled down for a rest, so we kept getting a bit of action

 

51931971027_e41696f5e8_k.jpg7T4A5657a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52269143174_636a634f51_k.jpg7T4A5683a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52269359915_b76c7ef54a_k.jpg7T4A5688a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51931999342_0274c6a0f0_k.jpg7T4A5705a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933602820_d9df1d9371_k.jpg7T4A5721a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933379994_b01d627fc8_k.jpg7T4A5731a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933128798_19025ad0d1_k.jpg7T4A5735a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933140708_4e27962dec_k.jpg7T4A5752a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933685295_504cc81a53_k.jpg7T4A5755a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51932092117_3353559102_k.jpg7T4A5756a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

52269145819_8b50136bad_k.jpg7T4A5770a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933705445_528716561f_k.jpg7T4A5777a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

We did not know at the time that this would be our only wild dog sighting of the trip

 

51933420889_16b344eba4_k.jpg7T4A5801a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

We had to get going as it was transfer day and so we needed to check out by 10am.

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Day 6: Transfer Skukuza to Lower Sabie

 

After an excellent breakfast in the recently reopened Selati restaurant, it was time to leave. It was hot and cloudy.

 

At the Nkulu picnic site there were some birds (and a cold drink)...

 

51932943221_29ef850307_k.jpg7T4A5817a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933562415_5d9c9f6d59_k.jpg7T4A5822a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933274164_b9c6e0d05b_k.jpg7T4A5826a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933571420_b6fd3282e5_k.jpg7T4A5838a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933574620_23ef0bd9c5_k.jpg7T4A5848a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51931981732_ec7fa7408b_k.jpg7T4A5852a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

Back on the road again. There was a huge herd of elephant in the river

 

51933297589_df22edf5bb_k.jpg7T4A5902a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933588915_b30de5b904_k.jpg7T4A5910a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

51933300534_0bd5368067_k.jpg7T4A5911a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

But sunset dam was quiet, apart from this sandpiper

 

51933302704_90e9964c5c_k.jpg7T4A5916a by tdgraves, on Flickr

 

Time to check in!

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