Towlersonsafari

OH NO! Not another Kruger Trip Report (Simon & Jane's Excellent Adventure Volume 2)

48 posts in this topic

You have captured my interest in S.A. as a real possibility for my next trip. Keep it coming, enjoying the ride.

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Thanks @@Dave Williams SA is certainly a good value destination and we do like the San Parks accomadation. Also there are plenty of other options to combine wildlife watching with such as Cape Town, or the Spring Flowers in namaqualand

 

We really liked Satara and our worries that it would be just too big were unjustified.The staff seemed friendlier than Lower Sabie and our perimeter hut had views-through the fence-of Zebra and even Elephant.It is supposed to be a good spot for predators but we lucked out this time, until it was time for the long trek to Berg-en-Daal and our last 2 nights of the Kruger part of the trip.We chose gravel roads to the east and aimed to stop again at Tshokwane and eventually came across this gentleman sleeping by the side of the road.

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There was a female sleeping nearby under a bush.We were able to proudly show a passing safari vehicle "our" lion.

Our next interesting sighting was a mixture of white and marabou storks again feeding on termites (we think)

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As we neared the picnic sight some cars pulled up on the side of the road caught our interest.Approaching slowly we saw, nothing! A kind lady in another car helped us out-much to our delight!

 

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We have seen leopard on all our trips save the last one and we were hoping we would get lucky .It was a sighting of 3 leopards, a mother and 2 youngsters and so what if it was through binoculars!

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Happy with our cats, and refreshed, we made our way towards and along our favourite S21, and to one of our avourite sightings not just of this trip, but in a long time.It just made us very happy.it was over 34 degrees and We came across a large pond, and an elephant having an enjoyable time so we stopped and then a small family of ellies rushed up from the other side for all the world like children rushing down to the sea.With a short trumpet they dived in, kicking with their back legs, dunking themsleves, and with the youngsters joining in.They just seemed so happy! It can't have lasted more than 10 minutes, then they were off, and we smiled from ear to ear.2 other cars, each at different ends of the large pond/small lake shared the sighting and we grinned foolishly at each other

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Posted (edited)

Sorry probably too many ellie pictures there but , hey, stop that you ellies.....

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Thats enough, get out of the bath now!

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Edited by Towlersonsafari
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Great work @@Towlersonsafari - Loved your report and great pics, where abouts did you see the Ele's bathing?. I better get back to mine at some stage soon

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You are very kind @@Hads the elephants were on the S21 gravel road which starts off just above lower Sabie

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Berg-en-Dal was interesting primarily because of its location-in hills with escarpment nearby. the accomadation seemed newer than at the other camps and as a result perhaps a bit lacking in character, also one can see the outside world! Yet the southern part of the Kruger as a large rhino popoulation and we saw a great dela of general game.The guide who took the sunset drive on our last full day also mentioned the high leopard densities.Our days spotting was certainly interesting,very interesting!

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This leopard tortioise-we think-scored 4 on the Tortiose @Caracal Amiability Tortiose Index or CAT index for ease of use.He barely gave us a nod and indeed dissapeaerd quite quickly-for a tortoise

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And then we saw the Hooded Claw himself

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We then came across another very nice view of white rhinos.What particularly caught our attention was that they both seemed to be eating dung-we could not tell if it was their own or even fresh elephant dung-it does look fresh! I understand that young rhino eat their own dung to improve their gut flora but We didn't think that is what we were seeing.I have not been able to find anything about it -any thoughts/guidance much appreciated!

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@@Towlersonsafari the S21 is a very nice drive , I enjoy the northern section of this road.

The first Rhino pic in post # 32 looks like he is wearing lipstick.

Great Ele pics too - well done.

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Thanks for this ongoing nice TR @@Towlersonsafari.

 

@@Dave Williams - if you do go to South Africa, be sure to go on a Cape Town pelagic trip. They are arguably the best in the world.

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Some wonderful sightings, especially the ellies in the water and the hooded claw!

 

The decision to reverse from Mr Big in post #22 was exactly what I would have done. In my limited experience, he was feeling his oats and would have loved to leave a couple of dents as a momento...

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Thank you @Hads @@Peter Connan and @@offshorebirder the eles were very nice to watch and as for Mr big one never knows if it was needed but better safe than sorry! which brings us to another entertaining sighting!

 

About 15 minutes slow driving after the dung eating white rhino's we saw some distance away 2 Black rhinos! Our best ever views.-Sorry again for the bad photos-

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Then one of them slowly walked forward-we were getting better views! we had turned the engine off and had the sighting to ourselves

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It continued to move forward.And then broke into a little trot.Nothing too energetic, but determined. It seemed to us that rhinos are much better poker players than elephants.What was it thinking?

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As aprecaution I checked the car was in neutral, and turned the ignition on. It kept trotting. I think you can see the deadish looking bush it had passed so it had come quite a way.Did it want to hear some of my bad jokes? Had it taken exception to our number plate or would it stop and say HA HA fooled you?

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I stopped taking bad photos and gave the camera to Jane.We wondered about the acceleration speed of Black rhinos, nad at about 10 metres waved it a polite "Good Day" and left smiling that nervous smile one does when one does not know what has just happened! We did ask a guide about this afterwards-he thought that the rhino was probably teasing. Probably! Still our best black rhino sighting and we were once again grinning like cheshire rhinos

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have mentioned right at the start that we did quite a few sunset and night drives, and they were a mixed bag, but on our last day in the kruger we had decided on a sunset drive.this starts at 4.30 and lasts about 3 hours.You get to stay out a bit later than if driving yourself, and there is a little bit of night driving.Once again it was a packed truck with a United Nations of different folk, including Germans, Italians South Africans etc and the guide was very entertaining.Everyone was keen and stopped talking as soon as there was a sighting or even if the truck slowed down in anticipation. We saw some elles, the same bufflao we had seen oursleves earlier and then two more white rhino.

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Then another ball of dung being rolled across the road.We stopped to watch-a truck full of folk fascinated by its actions.But everytime it ot to the edge of the road it was too stepp and the ball rolled back. We began urging it on, quietly.Then as the ball rolled back the beetle lost its bearings and ran under the truck.It kept appearing and then going the wrong way. We were all giving it encouragement but starngely it did not atke our advice-in what ever language it was given! We looked at the guide.He ponted out he could not interfere but felt he could move the ball over the " kerb" after a few more minutes and still the beetle running around not finding his ball of dung, he broke down under our entreaties.We promised never to reveal his name, he picked the beetle up and he was re-united with his ball, and the female on top of the ball (The guide and not me, said you could tell itw as a female as the other beetle was doing all the work-obviousely I distance myself completely from that remark) The feeling or relief and camaraderie the beetle generated was palpable!

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Things were then quiet for the remainder of what had been a fine drive, and we were back on the tar road, when one of the Germans shouted out -I thought he said leopard-surely not -Jane was not sure- the guide quickly reversed and voila!

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What a magnificent cat, and what a way to end the fantastic Kruger part of our holiday! We even saw a female briefly in the dark on the way back.Its not the "wilderness" experience of course, I suspect in the high season it does get very crowded, but we had seen splendid sightings, never ourselves felt crowded or uncomfortable and especially on the gravel roads we felt we were in the wild. We will be back, and in the green season as well I think. We were very happy bunnies indeed.

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Posted (edited)

What a splendid looking Leopard, great decision to do the afternoon drive .

Where did you spot the Black Rhino, S21?

Thanks again for a great TR @@Towlersonsafari

Edited by Hads

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Splendid story about the dung beetle @Towlersonsafar! And great shots of that Leopard!

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Thanks again @@Hads and @@PeterHG I don't have access to a map here (at work) but yes i think that's where we saw him, as you know the park drives can be hit or miss but this on was definitely a hit and it made it fun sharing it with other folk ! and the dung beetle-everyone just got quite involved in its plight! i think they find the dung by smell so it could have been the truck fumes affecting its judgement. i also read that there is a theory that dung beetles can navigate using the milky way! and there is this article suggesting they can capture an image of the sky whilst they are on their dung balls! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-36279682

 

I have another picture of a tortoise taken at the splendid Harold Porter gardens that I need help with identifying that I will post under the reptiles thread so I am counting on you @@Hads i also have a terrible confession to make.I was snapping away all the time in the Kruger alternating between my battered 70-300 L series lens and a new 400 L series f4-well cheap anyway and looking in the viewfinder thinking well they don't look too bad-and i had forgotten to check the ISO setting-it was on Auto and would often choose a high setting that with a moments thought I could have altered-I just get too excited! We will just have to go back and do it again thanks for your company

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Great report, I have really enjoyed following along. Thanks

I will check the tortoise pic, can you please send the link through once posted.

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Posted (edited)

I am still laughing at your Korhan reaction shot as well as "Fifty shades of Prey" a sequal to " Lady Chatterley's Plover" and Lady Chatterley's Thicknee."

 

For your sake and the sake of the dwarf mongoose family, I hope you prevented theire ascent into the engine.

 

I like the spooky shots! The young hyena are so adorable.

 

I'll have to look for Part 1 after finishing Part 2.

 

You handled the "frisson of excitement" well with the ele and rhino threats and lived to write about it. The dung beetle had its own frisson of excitement back and forth under the vehicle. And you managed some fine photos of it as well.

 

I have now completed Part 2!

Edited by Atravelynn

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You are too kind @@Atravelynn , thank you we were worried about the dwarf moneese but they all got down safely and the car still worked! with the Ele we felt confident we made the right choice but with the rhino although it kept trotting we kept thinking it would stop, and then we both wondered about how fast it could accelerate if it put its mind to it. Still it made a fine sighting so thank you for reading

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More great sightings with those ellies, rhinos and that very relaxed looking leopard.

 

Backtracking to #24 - I would have seen hundreds of waterbucks over the years but it's taken your photo to make me realise just how shaggy and lengthy their coat is - almost beardlike under the chin.

Also I hadn't realised just how beautiful the dappled/mottled colouration of the hornbills wings.

 

Love the duiker in #32 and sorry to learn the tortoise didn't rate a pass on the CAT Index - obviously it appeared somewhat nonchalant but it does have one saving grace - a very handsome carapace!

 

Praise due for the dung beetle rescue - had much enjoyment all round following your excellent adventure.

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Thanks @Caracal we did post a picture of an angulate tortoise in the tortoise thread and it was a 7 or 8 on the CAT index! The waterbuck is Jane's favourite antelope

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Great report, really has my interest in SA aroused. You had some brilliant sightings. Love your sense of humour to add a bit of fun too. As for the number plate, well at least you had one, ours did what yours suggested and I ended up being charged for it too. It didn't cost a lot but it was the principal that it couldn't have been attached properly, had it been a wheel I would be suing them had I had a resulting accident!

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A very entertaining report, really like your warm-hearted and funny writing style, the Dung Beetle cameradrie being a special highlight. That Trump-Korhaan picture is just priceless, made me laugh out loud, it´s a good thing I was not drinking anything while reading, my keyboard would have been quite a mess. Really like the photo with the two Giraffes in the mist, and seeing the Eles playing in the water must have been absolutely wonderful.

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Posted (edited)

Thank you for your kind comments @@michael-ibk and @@Dave Williams

Edited by Towlersonsafari

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