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kieslier reserve kruger and white elephant KWN July 2011


COSMIC RHINO
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I am just back

 

everything went wonderfully well

 

despite having been exhausted I did not miss a single activity, had no problem waking up with ranger calls and a very noisy hear each tick chaeap alarm clock

 

the place was far from full, they say world economic downturn still, I had something like 24 activities solo with ranger etc,including viewing leopard on foot

 

they take the atitude solo actiuvities are easier on the staff, no extra charge made

 

the areas were delightfully uncrowded 3 vechicles were seldom seen together

 

it was lovely to be a peace with wildlands, although there were not large numbers o9f animals.

 

very concernly rangers in all areas take the attitude that with current poaching rates ,all species of rhino are on trhe way ti extinction

 

more later

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Sounds great! Where did you go again?

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Crikey, can't believe you are back already! Welcome home. Awaiting more details and photos. Matt.

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oh yes..rub it in, let me feel even more jealous..leopard tracking/sighting AND on foot. Thanks :)

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Look forward to hearing more. Welcome back.

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Welcome back CR!

How did your new camera work out? ... ie when are we going to get to see some photos?? B)

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my trip was briefly recaping

 

Kliesirie pvt reserve Greater kruger

 

small scale non luxury 5 days each africa on foot and nthambo tree camp

 

pongoloa game reserve Kwa zulu natal almost in swaizland White Elephant Lodge 5 star luxury 50% deposit with rest when you leave, I was attracted by the reserve not the comforts. even being unattached presently I give the lodge a romance rating of at least 500%

 

with a few days in the 3 star emperor's place airport hotel JHB

 

I managed to keep on washing out frequently the same 2 pairs of socks, I had 6 spare pairs still in their original packs, leaving these behing at White Elephant with some torch batteries ,so I could take a 23 cm diameter ,10 cm deep ebony bowl with rhinos carved around it for only ZAR 200 ,without having to risk an excess bagage charge ,it worked.

 

Pickup up a number of interesting wildlife pictorial books and an interesting reference called RANGER IN YOUR BACKPACK in the airport shops, an a large ammonite fossil going cheap.

 

the camera worked well using an advanced compact on auto setting all the time, cropping the images on the go ,including those unintended bits of the vehicle.

 

just hearing the others talk as I was previewing my images they were impressed with what I was getting including a photo of a large bull elephant around dawn , the spotlight was not used for safety reasons, guessing theirs taken with a theirs playing with the setings failed .

 

the others were very intersted in taking photos with obscured views etc , and from the way they were talkiong perhaps they thought that they had achieved publication quality.

 

at the moment I don't have a home computer,doing things mainly from work , and I will be initially viewing things from a digital photo frame.

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Nice was it at AOF that you saw the leopard? How was game viewing at AOF/NThambo? Especially for cats! :D

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Looking forward to this report, especially after Jo's post on where is best in the Kruger region

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KLASARIE PRIVATE RESERVE corrected spelling

 

is relatively new to commericial development, there has only been anything in the last 2 years.

 

the combined landowners operating rules restrict it to low bed numbers, and operators swap traversing rights

 

it is mized grassland with woodland on the other side of the track to Timbavarti ,and animals can wander in from there

 

T animals can be viewed along the sealed road

 

off road driving is done only with care, to use the local term the places where I stayed do not bunda bash, having no desire to scare the animals.

 

the animals are still geting used to vehicles

 

things are variable but giraffe,elephants, lions,impalas and wharthogs should be easy to find in good numbers

 

once when I saw elephants they rushed of quickly ,the ranger thought that( the older females were trying to control the frisky developing older adoscelent males),the other times they stayed around for a good time, including twice with a good size heard

 

lions are well viewed sometimes with cubs or roaring, and a white lion wanders in from time to time from Timbavarti

 

I saw two cheetah brothers again wandering in from T eating a steinbok kill with so little vehicle disturbance that crunching bone could be heard.

 

giraffes are very calm and approachable, even on walks from africa on foot.

 

as regards leopards they are being made accustomed to vehicles and live locally , there is a mother to 2 cubs

 

the tracker Enoch explained that he was born in the town of sabi, had worked in mala mala,londolozi,singata ,sabi sabi,phinda ,was about to go on leave and wanted to see leopard

 

on a on foot afternoon drive I with enoch ranger ryan and enoch, looked around from the vehicle for a while, then enoch got of with a rifle and 2 way radio and walked

 

he found a 11 month old male who had recently killed an impala resting up a tree ,we were called in to look

 

I stayed about 20 minutes looking with my eyes,binos and photographing

 

there were no more than 3 vehicles looking cvery closely of track near the tree without noisy chatter.

 

on a later walk ,som locals from JHB decided to sleep in so miised out on seeing mother leopard very briefly at the end of the walk.

 

from N thambo another tracker took the rifle and radio and walked of ,being called in to see 2 larger cubs a bit in the distance trying to chase birds,it was brief and I was unable to get any photos

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KLASARIE PRIVATE RESERVE corrected spelling

 

 

 

It's Klaserie, CR! :D;)

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Great to hear the cheetah are still around (we saw one of them)!

And the white lioness! I hope to get a pic of her the next time.

 

With these animals around, including the resident lion pride and the leopard mum & cubs, I think AOF/nThambo is "on a roll".

 

Enoch at AOF is indeed a equally legendary tracker as Isaac at nThambo. I heard great things about him.

 

Did you catch the nickname of Ryan? It's "flauwbok". Comes from that little movie on youtube with all the fainting goats. Not sure why he got the name though. I think it's just to tease him (guide humor...). Pretty hilarious though.

 

Ciao,

 

J.

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Glad you had a good time CR.. I know how much effort you put into your planning and I am please it worked out.

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klasarie is not a prime buffalo viweing area

 

they went 3 times to an area of dense mopane woodland and found them once, discovering a large herd

 

 

,including a male lion in his prime who moved the heavy remains of his buffalo kill just dragging it in this teeth ,at it smelt foul

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I was very interested from their internet sites that both africa on foot and ntahambo promoted themselves as comfortable ,and specifically mentioned don't come if you want a spa or a heated towel rail.

 

they both are comfortable, nthambo a bit more so

 

the view from nthambo of the drakensburgs in the distance about 45 km is great

 

the food is ordinary family style cooking ,all done by female staff using LPG cylinders

 

both are unfenced nthambo when I was there had elephants nearby , africa on foot had them drink from the swimming pool at night ,dipping their trunks over the side

 

all the staff friendly and infromative

 

a dutch client was mildly disappointed when Jan declinded his request for a lesson on how to swear in afrikanas

 

both places have had return visitors

 

Jan from nthambo has been there 2 yrs and says he would be happy to stay 10 yrs

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PEERMONT METCOURT

 

comfortable hotel near JHB airport shuttle available every 20 mins 6 am to 11pm ,although I took a tAxi the first time could not find the pickup point

 

niece and quiet

 

the whole empoeror's court comlex is surrounded by a high metal fence

 

buffet breakfast great and included with accom charge

 

took most other meals takeaway in a bag from an airport bakery cafe

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The emperor's people have very good deals for locals which look like promotions for their gambling operations

 

it is a centre for dining,bars, movies,live concerts and confrences.

 

the transfer bus had a huge add on it for confrence packages from something like R395 per person per day.

 

for locals R200 buys a room at the metcourt well stay and drink,dine,concerts etc gamble.

 

then go to the dinner and movie deal R375 for two people for a sit down 2 course dinner with movie tickets and R100 casino credits ---- collect from winner's circle desk.

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the lions around on foot,ntambo I actually found interesting because they were doing something more than sleeping and behaving stressed under excess vehicle pressure.

 

the pride males are relatively new ,moving in when the old ones moved out as they could see that their time was up and did not want a fight.

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I am doing this in different segments to make it less confusing.

 

purchased drinks are available if you want them.

 

I had the bore water all the time, rooibos tea,hot chocolate and was not adversely affected.

 

Nthambo and africa on foot offers wine,beer and soft drinks.

 

the wine happens to be from a family business which exports to a bottle shop in my area of sydney.

 

just noticing what others did ,they did not mind if someone put their own 6 pack of beer in the lodge fridge, and in one case a bottle of gin. this would be more practical for those who come in by self drive.

 

 

the kitchen area at nthambo had wire placed along the line of the door and wall,after honey guide badgers started to eat the seals from around the fridge.

 

nthambo, africa on foot and white elephant remove the garbage and waste from the reserve to the nearby town for dumping and recycling

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some of the best preperation I did was reading up about animals in R Estes behaviour guide and J Kingdon field guide . marking notes in R Estes and writing up point form notes in a spiral bound book ,including some done on the tray table on the flight from sydney

 

 

Getting to JHB airport I saw the big poster up anything to declare to quarantine plants,soil samples,honey etc go this way, then to the side nothing to declare and it is just a clear passageway, no official anywhere to be seen , I thought this is open to smuggling etc

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guides boast about their rugby past

 

the staff and on foot ,nthambo have a special friend to use the local term BEST THE BAKKIE aka pickup or utility

 

a vehicle well past its prime which is kept going to drag tryes used to even out the tracks , have a problem go have a chat with the best

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guides boast about their rugby past

 

the staff and on foot ,nthambo have a special friend to use the local term BEST THE BAKKIE aka pickup or utility

 

a vehicle well past its prime which is kept going to drag tryes used to even out the tracks , have a problem go have a chat with the best

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I meet some locals waiting for on on the bus ,who also liked the airport hotel well located,cheap and comfortable.

 

a couple from the town of george told me that the area was violent and dangerous at night, like bagdad

 

I was told that there were pawnbrokers nearby that would take anything including mothers in law, they delt with poor people who lost a lot at the emperor's casino.

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I was introduced to the sth african expression for feeling wonderfull lacquer

 

and that is how I am feeling , I am already thinking of what I will do next year in sth africa,possibly adding zambia

 

winter being the better time for prices,game viewing and temperature

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Thanks Cosmic! Lots to think about there.. hmmm.. :D

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