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I thought I saw a Ghost - Kruger self drive January 2023


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Mum I thought I saw a Ghost ......................................

Well let's go have a look.

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well this looks like fun @Hads

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It was fantastic to be back in back in Africa to visit my wife's family again after a 4 year absence.

This Kruger trip was extra special as I got to take my wife and kids. This was our first family trip to Kruger.

Joining us was my Mother and Father In-law  (MIL & FIL) and my sister and brother-in-law (SIL & BIL) and their son.

It was a real family Safari.

The trip was similar to my last Kruger trip with my Father in law back in January 2019 (or could have been December 2018 - I will have to check the dates).

Trip dates were from 16-24th January 2023.

2 Nights Shimuwini.

4 Nights Satara

2 Nights Lower Sabie.


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No pics so far, has the ghost passed now? 

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Hi @Kitsafari - pics will be coming soon.

I have decided to finish off the Imfolizi & Drakensberg Report first.

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  • 3 months later...

Afternoon All,

Huge apologies in the delay in getting this report going again.

I will slowly get the start of the trip kicked off.

We entered the park at the Phalaborwa gate mid afternoon.

We were heading to the beautiful Shimuwini Bushveld camp for 2 Nights.

On the way North to Shimuwini we stopped off at the Sable hide which had plenty of water and then took the S132, S133 and H14.

White faced ducks where our first sighting along with some lone Ele's.

Ele H9 .jpeg


Fish eagle H14 bridge 2.jpeg


Fish eagle H14 bridge.jpeg


H14 Ele .jpeg


H14 Ele ahead.jpeg

White faced ducks at the Sable dam

Sable hide .jpeg


Sable hide 1.jpeg

Edited by Hads
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Shimuwini Bushveld camp is one of the most beautiful camps in Kruger, set on the banks of the Letaba river with a permanent water hole in front of camp there is always plenty to see from your chalet.

The hide in front of camp is also very pleasant to sit and watch the world go by.

Hippo's shimuwini.jpeg

Chalets in front of camp

Shimuwini camp.jpeg

View from the hide

Shimuwini hide 2.jpeg

Weaver colony at the hide

Shimuwini hide 3.jpeg


Shimuwini Hornbill.jpeg

Always plenty of waterbuck along the river.

Shimuwini Water buck 2.jpeg

Our first "kill" of the trip on the drive into Shimuwini.

Yellow billed hornbill with Kill.jpeg


Your back again.jpeg


Zebra's shimuwini 2.jpeg

Edited by Hads
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In our group of 10 we were lucky to have 3 vehicles with us.

Every morning that allowed myself and my eldest boy to get up at 4am and head out the camp gates by 4.30am.

Our first morning we headed Northwards along the H14 and onto the S50 and S143 tropic of capricorn roads around Mopani.

Each morning we were lucky enough to see Hyena :).

The amount of plains game on these 2 dirt roads was fantastic, there was hundreds of Wildebeest, Zebra, great sightings of Tsessebe and big herds of Elephants.

Hyena just a km or 2 from camp.

Hyena Shimuwini 2.jpeg


Hyena Shimuwini.jpeg


Mopani ele 1 S50.jpeg

S50 Ele's

Mopani ele 2 S50.jpeg

Ele's near the Nshawu Marsh

Mopani ele 5 S50.jpeg


Mopani S50 dung beetle.jpeg

Plenty of Ostrich also in the area.

Mopani S50 Ostrich 2.jpeg


Mopani S50 Ostrich.jpeg


Mopani S50 Tsessebe.jpeg

Wildebeest calf

Mopani S50 Wildebeest foal .jpeg


Mopani S50 Wildebeest muddie.jpeg


Mopani S50 Wildebeest with wound young.jpeg

Wildebeest with a wound under the eye.

Mopani S50 Wildebeest with wound.jpeg


Mopani S50 Zebra  and Foal.jpeg


Open plains on the S143 tropic of Capricorn road

Mopani S143 1.jpeg


Mopani S143 2.jpeg

Tihongonyeni waterhole and water tank area - we sat here for a good 45 minutes watching the world go by.

Mopani S143 3.jpeg


Mopani S143 Ele 2.jpeg


Mopani S143 Ele 4.jpeg


Mopani S143 Ele 10.jpeg


Mopani S143 Ele 11.jpeg


Mopani S143 Ele 15.jpeg


Mopani S143 Ele 18.jpeg

S50 - ELE Trunk leaving track on the dirt road.

Mopani ele trail S50.jpeg


S143 Ele.jpeg


S143 WATERHOLE 2.jpeg


S143 WATERHOLE 3.jpeg


S143 WATERHOLE 4.jpeg


S143 WATERHOLE 5.jpeg


S143 WATERHOLE 6.jpeg


S143 WATERHOLE 7.jpeg


S143 Waterhole.jpeg


Mopani ele trail S50.jpeg

Edited by Hads
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  • 1 month later...

Apologies I have been very slack on getting my KNP trip report finished by spending too much time in the Botswana section reading other Safaritalker reports :( .

I am still up in the Shimuwini and Mopani camp area's.

After watching the Elephants on the tropic of capricorn road we went to Mopani rest camp for brunch. Great views looking over the Pioneer Dam.

Mopani Dam.jpeg


Mopani entrance Buffalo's.jpeg


Mopani Giraffe.jpeg

Night Jar at Mopani camp

Mopani Night Jar.jpeg


Mopani NightJar.jpeg


Mopani Pioneer Dam.jpeg


Mopani Squirrel.jpeg

Edited by Hads
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There was no shortage of Elephants and General game around camp at Shimuwini, a few photo's from last evenings game drive around camp and the Mopani area.

Mopani Elephant.jpeg   

Plenty Of Tsessebe around Mopani

Mopani Tsebebe 2.jpeg


Shimuwini  Saddlebill stork 2.jpeg

Waterbuck dominate the Letaba river around Shimuwini

Shimuwini 1.jpeg


Shimuwini 2.jpeg


Shimuwini camp.jpeg


Shimuwini Ele 2.jpeg


Shimuwini Ele 3.jpeg

Ele's in front of Camp at Shimuwini

Shimuwini Ele 4.jpeg


Shimuwini Ele.jpeg

White Throated bee-eater

White Throated bee eater.jpeg


Mopani water buck.jpeg

Edited by Hads
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I really enjoy the private and quiet nature of Shimuwini, so far I have stayed there 3 times and yet to see the larger Cats only leopard footprints after the rains.

But the camp is beautiful and peaceful.

On our final morning my eldest son and myself went for a quick drive up to the H14 looking for the local Hyena's again.

We come across the mum who won't win a beauty contest and 2 Juveniles.

Shimuwini H14 Hyena final day 2.jpeg


Shimuwini H14 Hyena final day 3.jpeg


Shimuwini H14 Hyena final day 4 cub.jpeg


Shimuwini H14 Hyena final day 5 cub.jpeg


Shimuwini H14 Hyena final day 6 cub.jpeg


Shimuwini H14 Hyena final day 7 cub.jpeg


Shimuwini H14 Hyena final day 8 cub.jpeg


Shimuwini H14 Hyena final day.jpeg

Edited by Hads
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A few more photo's of the morning drive on our way down towards Letaba for Brunch.

Shimuwini Hare.jpeg

The baby hippo cant be that old - so cute.

Shimuwini mum and bub hippo.jpeg


Shimuwini Sandpiper H14.jpeg


Shimuwini white throated bee eater .jpeg


Shimuwini white throated bee eater 3.jpeg


Shimuwini WKF x 2 2.jpeg

My Favourite bird in Africa :) 

Shimuwini WKF x 2.jpeg


Swansons spurfowl 2.jpeg


White Throated bee eater.jpeg


WKF H1-6 2.jpeg



WKF H1-6 3.jpeg


WKF H1-6.jpeg

Edited by Hads
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Plenty of Elephants to see along the H1-6, also lots of Birdlife.

An interesting thing happened on the drive to Letaba along the H1-6, we came across a breeding herd of about 10-12 Elephants who were quietly eating and moving slowly along the side of the road.

Then suddenly all of them stopped and did not move a whisker for maybe 1 minute, quite interesting behaviour?.


H1-6 Ele  FAMILY 3jpeg.jpeg


H1-6 Ele  FAMILY 4jpeg.jpeg


H1-6 Ele  FAMILY 5jpeg.jpeg


H1-6 Ele roadblock 1.jpeg


H1-6 Ele roadblock.jpeg


H1-6 Ele Yellow billed kite.jpeg


H1-6 FEMALE kudu.jpeg

Magpie Shrike's??

H1-6 Magpie Shrike.jpeg

A lonely Plover - maybe white fronted?

H1-6 Plover.jpeg

Secretary bird.

H1-6 Secretary bird.jpeg

Edited by Hads
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Fish Eagle H1-6.jpeg


S46 Ground Hornbill 1.jpeg


S46 Ground Hornbill 2.jpeg


S46 Ground Hornbill.jpeg

Edited by Hads
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  • 1 month later...

I think I am going for the record for dragging out and not completing my trip report.

However let me kick things off again as we head to our next rest camp Satara for 4 nights.

We travelled southwards along main H1-4 road to Satara.

Day 3 Barbet 2.jpeg


Day 3 Barbet.jpeg

Chameleon road block.

Day 3 Chameleon 1.jpeg

Always a cool sighting :) 

Day 3 Chameleon.jpeg

Dagga boys near the Oliphants river

Day 3 dagga boys.jpeg


Day 3 Hippo 2.jpeg


Day 3 Hippo.jpeg

Hyena on the H1-4 north of Satara.

Day 3 Hyena H1 4.jpeg


Day 3 letaba river.jpeg

Quelea flocks in waves just north of Satara - this was amazing to see them burst out of the grass - thousands of them.

Day 3 Queleas 1.jpeg


Day 3 Queleas.jpeg

Edited by Hads
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Satara is one of my favourite rest camps, obviously alot busier than the bush camps but the chances to see predators is usually better.

In the late afternoon we took a drive down towards Nsemani dam.

Far off in the distance behind Nsemani dam was a lone female lioness, apologies photos are blurry - what pride did she belong to?

Day 3 Arvo 1.jpeg


Day 3 Arvo 2.jpeg

Dagga boy out and about.

Day 3 Arvo 3.jpeg


Day 3 Arvo 4.jpeg


Day 3 Arvo 5.jpeg

I'm watching you ..........

Day 3 Arvo 6.jpeg

What's for dinner???

Day 3 Arvo 7.jpeg

Ground hornbill at sunset.

Day 3 Arvo 8.jpeg


Day 3 Arvo 9.jpeg

One of my favourites is at Nsemani dam.

Day 3 Arvo 10.jpeg

Edited by Hads
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Okay our first full day in the Satara area - are the ghosts about??

We did the S12 - S40 loop and then backtracked to S100 , S41 and H6.

Elephant crossing.....

Day 4 morning 1.jpeg

We saw Hyena every morning.

Day 4 morning 2.jpeg

S12 Buffalo's nice and relaxed.

Day 4 morning 3.jpeg


Day 4 morning 4.jpeg


Day 4 morning 5.jpeg

On the S40 there was a Hyena den, 1 adult with 6 cubs.

Day 4 morning 6.jpeg


Day 4 morning 8.jpeg


Day 4 morning 9.jpeg


Day 4 morning 10.jpeg

S100 Ele

Day 4 morning 11.jpeg


Day 4 morning 14.jpeg


Day 4 morning 15.jpeg

Edited by Hads
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We did see a ghost - I could not believe my eye's when we spotted a female Kudu with Leucistic skin conditioning.

We saw this rare sighting on the S41 near H6 junction.



Day 4 morning 16.jpeg


Day 4 morning 17.jpeg


Day 4 morning 18.jpeg


Day 4 morning 19.jpeg

What does Leucistic mean??

an abnormal condition of reduced pigmentation affecting various animals (such as birds, mammals, and reptiles) that is marked by overall pale color or patches of reduced coloring and is caused by a genetic mutation which inhibits melanin and other pigments from being deposited in feathers, hair, or skin.

Would Satara provide us with more Ghosts???????

Edited by Hads
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The remainder of the morning drive.

Day 4 morning 20.jpeg


Day 4 morning 21.jpeg


Day 4 morning 22.jpeg

Scops owl in camp.

Day 4 morning 25.jpeg


Day 4 morning 26.jpeg


Day 4 morning 27.jpeg

Edited by Hads
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For some reason, I don't have many photos from our afternoon drive, but reading back on my Diary it was  pretty quiet.

We headed northwards up the H1-4, S147 and S89.

We did see plenty of Kori bustards, Elephants, Giraffe and Nsemani dam for a sundowner.


Day 4 morning 28.jpeg


Day 4 morning 29.jpeg 


Day 4 morning 30.jpeg 


Day 4 morning 31.jpeg 


Day 4 morning 32.jpeg 


Our guest at camp tonight? Is this a African wild cat?

Day 4 morning 34.jpeg

Edited by Hads
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Back in December 2014 I visited Kruger with my dad for 8 nights.

We were extremely lucky to see a young white lion cub "Caspar" on the S100 on one of our last days.

He had 3 younger brothers with him.

We were parked next to a french photographer who kindly shared the photo's with me as I had a smaller camera back then.

Till this day this is one of my Safari highlights :) 

I have been to Kruger a few times since 2014 and was always hoping to see the Ghost in Caspar again.


Below photos are from 2014 of Caspar and his family.

Satara S100 white lion cub 1.jpg


Satara S100 white lion cub 2.jpg


Satara S100 white lion cub 3.jpg


Satara S100 white lion cub 4.jpg

Edited by Hads
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What would day 5 bring ...............

Every morning my eldest son would get up with me at 4 am to be out the gate by 4.30 am.

This morning we were joined by my nephew which was fantastic to share the drive with more family members.

The rest of the family would start their drive a little later around 6 am.


As yet we have not had any "real" sightings of the big Cats up close , so off we went heading back towards Nsemani dam and the H7, S12 and up towards Timbavati picnic site.


Hyena's never let us down every morning.

Day 5 Morning 2.jpeg


Day 5 Morning 3.jpeg


Day 5 Morning 4.jpeg

Lovely Verreaux eagle owl at  Girivana dam.

Day 5 Morning 5.jpeg


Day 5 Morning 6.jpeg

As we were watching the owl we could here lions roaring way off in the distance.

Day 5 Morning 7.jpeg


Day 5 Morning 8.jpeg

We were driving along quietly a few km's south of Timbavati when by son said "Stop Dad LIONS" we reversed back to watch these 3 ladies walk off into the bush. Brief sighting but very nice all the same.

Day 5 Morning 9.jpeg


Day 5 Morning 10.jpeg

Quick sighting of these guys  - the morning was getting productive :) 

Day 5 Morning 11.jpeg


Day 5 Morning 12.jpeg

Swainsons spurfowl

Day 5 Morning 13.jpeg


Day 5 Morning 14.jpeg

Kori Bustard

Day 5 Morning 15.jpeg

I have had better days .....

Day 5 Morning 16.jpeg

Look son there is a time and place for those comments...........

Day 5 Morning 17.jpeg

Edited by Hads
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We continued onto the S127, h1-4 to S90, S41 and S100 triangle loop.

The morning temps were now starting to rise.

S127 Ele's

Day 5 Morning 18.jpeg 


Day 5 Morning 19.jpeg 


Day 5 Morning 20.jpeg

Ground hornbill

Day 5 Morning 22.jpeg

My favourite bird up close and personal :) 

Day 5 Morning 23.jpeg

This guy did not move - I was so excited.

Day 5 Morning 24.jpeg

Necking Giraffe's

Day 5 Morning 25.jpeg

Very nice tusker on the S100

Day 5 Morning 26.jpeg

Edited by Hads
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We got close back to Satara and decided to go and one last look at Nsemani dam as it is only 7km's away.

This proved to be a great decision.

Behind the dam way off in the distance was 8 lionesses all sleeping.


Day 5 Morning 27.jpeg


Day 5 Morning 35.jpeg


Day 5 Morning 36.jpeg

I was chatting to a guy next to me on the dam wall and he asked if I had seen the 2 male lions on the S40 only a km or so away?

I said no I didnt realise there were more lions - He said one of them is the white Male lion, Caspar. You cant miss him asleep with his brother next to the road.........

Before he could finish the sentence we were off, it has been 9 years since I have seen this awesome Cat.


The "GHOST" I was longing for has finally made an appearance :)

First glimpse of 2 Flat Cats....

It was about 11 a.m. and getting very hot - these guys were not going anywhere.


Day 5 Morning 28.jpeg 

A Ghost's tale................

Day 5 Morning 29.jpeg


Caspar's brother.

Day 5 Morning 30.jpeg

And then he sat up and we had some nice views of him.

Other family members also had heard of the sighting and joined us there, we were all very excited.

Day 5 Morning 31.jpeg


The brother is an impressive guy.

Day 5 Morning 32.jpeg


Day 5 Morning 33.jpeg


Still abit sleepy

Day 5 Morning 34.jpeg


Off we went back to Satara for a late brunch, very excited to see a few Lions and especially Caspar again.

The excitement on my kids ' faces I will never forget.

Edited by Hads
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Pumped for the afternoon drive we decided to head southwards and complete the H1-3 to S126, S36 and back on the H7 and have a beer at Nsemai Dam and see if we could find the lions again. We left about 3pm.

There was plenty of plains game on the S126.

Day 5 afternoon  4.jpeg


Day 5 afternoon  5.jpeg


Day 5 afternoon 2.jpeg


Day 5 afternoon 3.jpeg


Day 5 afternoon 7.jpeg

You always get abit nervous when these big guys are walking towards you and there is 2-3 cars lined up.

Day 5 afternoon 8.jpeg


Day 5 afternoon 9.jpeg

We got back to Nsemani dam and drove to the western side down a small side track when we saw some lionesses on the move, in total one by one they all walked passed.

How awesome is Kruger.


Day 5 afternoon 10.jpeg


Day 5 afternoon 11.jpeg


Day 5 afternoon 12.jpeg


Day 5 afternoon 13.jpeg


Day 5 afternoon 14.jpeg


Day 5 afternoon 15.jpeg

They just kept coming.

Day 5 afternoon 16.jpeg

This one was blind in 1 eye.

Day 5 afternoon 17.jpeg

Then one of Caspar's brother came along - very impressive Cat.

Day 5 afternoon 18.jpeg


Day 5 afternoon 19.jpeg


Day 5 afternoon 20.jpeg


Day 5 afternoon 21.jpeg


Day 5 afternoon 22.jpeg


Day 5 afternoon 23.jpeg


Day 5 afternoon 24.jpeg


Day 5 afternoon 25.jpeg


Day 5 afternoon 26.jpeg


Day 5 afternoon 27.jpeg


Day 5 afternoon 28.jpeg


Edited by Hads
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