Browns in Kruger September 2013 *

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Bushcraft
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Re: Browns in Kruger September 2013

Post by Bushcraft » Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:06 pm

22nd Skukuza continued

When we arrived back in camp I frantically started chopping wood to build my fire castle while the rats got chased around by the Cow to clean up.

It turned out that we were a little early though as everything was sorted at around 11am, so the rats started hassling “Is leachy a teacher also? Is he strict? What do we call him?”

They weren’t worried about Heksie though as they had already had a braai with her on a previous trip, but they must have been wondering if all AW members were teachers as the last 4 members that they have met are all teachers.

I eventually got bored of teasing them about detention that leachy would issue them if they misbehaved and got started on a Cane and Oros while the Cow went to the shop to try and get some Amarula.

All arrived just before the Cow returned, but today they decided to enforce the rule about producing accommodation proof before you purchase dop and the Cow hadn’t taken proof, as we have never been asked since the rule was implemented and weren’t asked again on the trip, so sadly no Amarula today.

It’s always cool meeting people from the forum in the park, because you always have plenty to chat about.

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I had been informed by a reliable source that leachy is a master at braaing; therefore I tried to con him with praise hoping that he would cook, but I failed to pull the con off and I ended up braaing, so I hope that the meat was ok, but soon the chow was up.

Heksie and her mom had made a massive potato salad that I’m sure RP would have stolen if he was there, so there was plenty to go around.

After chow we threw some more wood on the fire and I gave Hawkeyes my camera to take some pics.

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The dops continued to flow on my side so I was soon feeling intellectually challenged with leachy’s amazing wit, but fortunately Heksie started making a few slip ups also after a couple of her coffee cape velvet mixes, so I flew under the radar with my blunders.

Time was ticking and leachy, Heksie and her mom had to start making tracks to Lower Sabie.

It was awesome meeting Heksie again and leachy for the first time, so I hope for another braai when we can link up in the park again.

To be continued

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Bushcraft
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Re: Browns in Kruger September 2013

Post by Bushcraft » Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:21 pm

22nd Skukuza continued

I was feeling a little under the weather after our meet, which had something to do with Oros and I knew that due to the quantity of inflow that there had to be out flow at some stage, so I diplomatically arranged the afternoon drive in close proximity to the loo.

I thought that the Skukuza day visitor’s loo would do nicely as an external emergency point, so we headed that direction.

We made it to the first low water bridge on the H1-2 about 100m from the day visitors section.

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The timing was perfect and soon the gang started to appear.

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The next pic is a little blurred as the shutter speed wasn’t fast enough, but Hawkeyes was proud about catching the jump and soon the male followed.

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The gang on the bridge was growing and the cab in the front wasn’t going to move for an asteroid, so we poked our nose onto the bridge to see a little more and spotted the first female cooling off and another male hiding behind some reeds in the distance.

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I wasn’t keen to get trapped in the gang as the out flow was starting to knock so we ducked back to Skukuza day visitors for a pit stop.

We then decided to head down towards De Laporte to avoid the gang on the H1-2.

Hawkeyes was filled with ambitions to be crowned spotter of the day and I was fuelling the fire by insisting that Bushpig and Albert were potential candidates, so the eyes were peeled and I could take a break from the moving bush.

Suddenly Hawkeyes shrieked “Lion!!” which gave me a wobble, but then I spotted it, although nobody else could, so the tree, bush, etc conversion followed and eventually all were in the picture.

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We soon got bored of the “ears in the bush” and moved on towards De Laporte which produced a few ellies having an evening drink.

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My throat was dry after another 5 minutes of hanging around, so we ducked back towards Skukuza for another braai.

To be continued

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Bushcraft
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Re: Browns in Kruger September 2013

Post by Bushcraft » Sat Oct 19, 2013 8:46 am

23rd Skukuza

The plan this morning was to duck up the H1-2 with the hope of finding the lions from the previous evening.

First up were a few nyala hanging around in the riverbed.

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Next up was a leopard kill in a tree, although no leopard and plenty cars just staring at the half eaten impala, so we continued on, but sadly the lion from the previous day were missing.

As we approached the H1-2/H12 intersection we spotted something cross the road in the distance and then as we got closer the clan were clearly visible next to the road.

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There were 6 of them and the one chap was plotting my rear tyre, so I kept flapping every time he sniffed it as I was sure that he wanted to taste it and 2 small juniors were very curious, so they walked up on the other side of the car to check the Cow out.

The 1 junior then took a liking to the side of the car also, so the Cow shouted instinctively, which seemed to excite an older babysitter who decided to hang a few teeth out at the Cow, which resulted in a mild window panic.

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The shyer junior then decided it was time to hassle the old lady for milk, so started shrieking the place down, which cracked us all up, but the old lady refused, which only caused the junior to shriek even louder.

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After 15 minutes a few more cars started to arrive, so I decided to start the car and move on, but got a greasing from the Cow, so switched off again and we sat another 15 minutes.

I was now getting rather bored of the sleeping hyena, but for some reason the Cow and the rats have a soft spot for them, so I was forced to bite my lip until I couldn’t take it anymore “This is their den site, so they will be here again tomorrow”, which resulted in an evil eye from the Cow, although no outburst, so I quickly started the car and we were on our way again.

I soon developed a pelican though as the rest of the drive to Lower Sabie produced very little, so maybe we should have spent more time with the hyena.

Nobody needed the loo as we neared Lower Sabie, so we decided to continue down to the S28 turnoff and then return to Lower Sabie for a pit stop before ducking back towards Skukuza.

A few km later we spotted a gang of cars on the side of the road, but I was confused as the cars were spread out over a fair distance.

It didn’t take long to see what was causing the traffic and it was fairly cool that she was elevated as it allowed one to stop in multiple locations to see her, so we again chose to stop in a position that probably didn’t offer the best view, but it was out of the gang.

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A few seconds later an oncoming car stopped next to us and informed us that she had a cub also and that the cub was lying at the bottom of the rock. This got me over excited again and all were ordered to find the cub.

Eventually I spotted the cub through branches and grass, but couldn’t get enough of it to take a picture, which was causing me massive frustration, so the temperature was rising “This spot focus thing doesn’t work! It’s focusing on the branches! Rubbish camera!!”

Suddenly the mother leopard bailed off the rock and the cub stood up and ran after her, which caused massive commotion in our car as all the rats had also spotted the cub as it stood up and all started chirping at once “THERE!! You are blocking the window!! Get out the way!! MOVE!!”, which then lead to a temper tantrum from me as nobody managed a pic in those few seconds and all I managed to get was the back of the Cow’s pip and even that wasn’t in focus.

We cruised up and down for another 20 minutes trying to find them, but no luck, so we headed back towards the H10 Bridge to visit those locals.

After hanging with the bridge locals for a few minutes we decided to drive 2 km up the H10 and found a few ellies crossing the road and then a junior Bateleur parking off in its nest.

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All were feeling rather hungry now, so we ducked back towards Skukuza on the H4-1 stopping for a few of the normal locals, 2 headless fish eagles, a Korhaan of some model, a steenbok and lastly a few ground horn bills which caused a 20 car rugby scrum.

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I was rather happy when we arrived at Skukuza as the H4-1 had turned into a traffic nightmare, so we had to come up with a different route for the afternoon as there’s no way I was going to drive that road again that day.

To be continued

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Re: Browns in Kruger September 2013

Post by Bushcraft » Sun Oct 20, 2013 11:19 am

23rd Skukuza continued

We finished breakfast rather quickly, so I was soon bored; therefore decided to cruise around camp, although soon got bored with that and returned to the unit for a G&T to save the day, but it was still cold, so the rats were in irritation mode, therefore plan B kicked into motion “Lets cruise somewhere different for an early afternoon drive and then return to camp at around 4pm and have an early braai”.

The Cow initially gave me funny looks, but the rats agreed and the route negotiation started.

Eventually the plan was finalized and we were going to head down to Transport Dam and then do a section of the H1-1 towards Napi Rocks before returning to Skukuza.

After half an hour we had only spotted a few of the normal characters and Transport Dam also didn’t produce much, so my pelican was out “This is why this section of the park sucks!”, but at least there wasn’t as much traffic on the roads when compared to the H4-1 area.

We decided to do the S11 before turning back to camp and as we arrived at Napi Rocks we found a few cars stopped and as lucky timing would have it a few heads popped up and then a few seconds later a junior and a lioness made an appearance.

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A few minutes later the one lioness decided to go walkabout, which got me excited, so I started the car, which got the Cow going again “Where are you going?”, “I’m following the lioness, what do you think I’m doing?”.

The Cow started shaking her head “The others are still on the rock!!” “I know that, but they will follow her?” “Just stay where you are!”, so I switched off again.

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A few minutes later the others all bailed off the rocks to follow the lioness, but now we had woken up at little late and had cars in front of us, so my pelican shot out “See, now we are stuffed”

Suddenly some lion chose their own route and popped up next to us therefore all wasn’t lost, but I had my 500mm lens on so found myself attempting to push the lens through my head to fit the lion in the frame.

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All the lion eventually wandered off to a burnt section a long way off and all collapsed for another snooze, so we turned and headed back towards Skukuza.

We stopped for a lone ellie, a Bateleur and more ellies having a scrap at De Laporte

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We arrived in camp just before 4pm and all were tired, so I started an early fire.

I was rather amused at a new comers fancy dish setup and was seriously tempted to bump it as I had visions of a TV set blasting later.

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We didn’t have much animal action around camp but eventually a kingfisher pulled in for the Cow

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We had to head up to Satara the next day, so it was an early night for all.

To be continued

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Re: Browns in Kruger September 2013

Post by Bushcraft » Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:07 pm

24th Skukuza to Satara

I hate moving camp as it’s always a mission organizing the rats and confirming they have all their bears, toys, etc, so my hair was standing on end by the time we eventually got everything in the car.

The rats were nagging to check the hyena den again, so we ducked up the H1-2, which didn’t produce much until about 2km before the H12 where we found a gang of cars and a dead giraffe about 15m off the road. It didn’t look like the giraffe had been killed by a predator and I have my own suspicions about a truck, but there’s no proof of that.

There were no scavengers around and no visible marks on the giraffe so the gang were all just parking off and waiting, therefore we decided to continue on.

The den site at the H1-2/H12 intersection produced the hyena clan again

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The rats and Cow were highly excited about these hyenas again, but I was starting to feel those familiar beads of sweat on the pip again, so ignored the sighting and entered Nkuhlu into the Garmin “Time to cruise Cow”, “What!!, no this time we are saying with them”, “No, not unless you want to photograph me in a few minutes charging into the bush”

As luck would have it an ellie made an appearance a few km outside Nkuhlu “Look his trunk is in the air, stop!!”

“#$^%^*, hurry up with a pic!!”

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I got tunnel vision for the last km and hit the car park running.

Feeling better and emptier I chose to drive down to the S79 causeway before heading in the direction of Satara.

The little section between Nkuhlu and the causeway produced a Burchell’s and a LBR for the Cow and then a little further some lion cooling off in the morning sun

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We turned at the causeway and started our drive up towards Tshokwane, which had everyone chirping about what to order for breakfast as “chicken mayo sarmies” were definitely off the menu and after STF’s description of the kitchen and birds dropping their load all were nervous, so this conversion continued until I did a small detour down the H1-2 to check out a dead giraffe that we had spotted earlier.

An army of vultures had arrived and they were going moggie

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We didn’t have a good viewing spot and I wasn’t going to enter the scrum of cars, so we turned and headed up towards Tshokwane.

Next up was a snake in the road, but I’m not sure of the model and the normal klippies hanging around Kruger tablets

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When we arrived at Tshokwane the decision was made to just get a few plates of hot chips as those seemed the safest option.

It was turning into a major hot day, which we welcomed initially as the weather had been fairly bad other than the day we arrived, so the rats started jabbering about swimming at Satara, therefore the chips went down rather quickly and we were back on the road.

A few km outside Tshokwane we spotted a few cars stopped and soon found what the reason was. A lioness and junior were parking off under a tree in the distance, but it was a mission to get a decent pic, so we eventually just accepted a proof pic and continued on.

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A few minutes later a large ellie made an appearance next to the road, which got the Cow rather excited, but he was very calm and ignored us.

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As we approached Marheya waterhole we found a SANParks vehicle with caravan attached stopped on the side of the road and the occupants seemed interested in something, so we pulled up next to them.

To be continued

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Re: Browns in Kruger September 2013

Post by Sprocky » Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:24 pm

I think your snake could be a Boomslang, judging by the size of the eye. :-?
Look after what we have, for tomorrow, if they get their way, it WILL be gone!
We can choose to destroy or to cherish, the choice is OURS!

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Re: Browns in Kruger September 2013

Post by Bushcraft » Sun Oct 20, 2013 9:34 pm

24th Skukuza to Satara continued

The driver of the SANParks vehicle calmly stated “There’s a leopard in that tree”, started his car and drove off while we were still trying to thank him and get more details as to which tree contained the leopard.

We hadn’t got a leopard yet that day, so the tree locating tension started in the car “Do you see anything, stop playing the fool and find the leopard!!” “Where’s my binoculars!!”

I picked the leopard up fairly quickly with the binocs “There!!”

Bushpig has the only other set of binocs and soon also picked up on the leopard “I got it, I got it”, which immediately caused a scrap in the back “Bushpig won’t share Dad”, so I had to hand my binocs over to maintain the peace. Eventually the Cow fired up the video camera and showed all on the screen.

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We decided to park off and wait for the leopard to put his head up so that we could get a better pic and during this wait an ellie pulled in for a drink

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About 15 minutes later we were roasting in the car and the leopard hadn’t moved an inch, so we decided to continue on.

It was close to 40 degrees when we finally pulled into Satara, so the tongues were all hanging out, therefore we ducked straight to the shop for an ice cream and then wasted some more time with the local Scops owl

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Eventually it was 2pm and we could book in much to everyone’s relief.

I did my usual unit inspection and things seemed ok until I opened a cupboard and something fell on my foot. I initially didn’t react but a few seconds later the brain twigged what it was and shrieked like a girl, followed by a Zulu war dance.

I’m not a fan of creepy crawlies and this individual was at the top of that list, with only a spider beating it in my fear factor ratings

It was also the small pincer type, which I believe means that it’s fairly venomous

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I then attacked it with a paper plate and eventually got it outside.

I needed a G&T after that mission, the rats cruised off for a swim and the Cow did her normal Satara squirrel hunt, which produced the guaranteed followed by a mother Franklin with her juniors

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About half an hour later our rats returned from the pool with pelicans because it was too crowded with adults and large kids, so they were getting pushed around. I kept the peace by suggesting an earlier swim the next day and poured another G&T to relax my nerves.

A few minutes later our neighbours returned from the pool and my pelican started as they had a gang of around 12 rats who were shrieking, shouting and charging around. It soon became apparent that they weren’t the “Walton’s” and that these kids came from all over the camp.

Once the adults started I realised where the kids learnt to talk at around 120 decibels.

Fortunately they soon ducked in different directions to their own spots, which brought temporary relief as it was evident that a social would follow that evening.

We had all burnt out a little in the heat, so decided to leave camp rather late and just do a short drive down to Nsemani Dam and then Girivana Dam before returning to camp.

Just outside camp we found a couple zebra all doing the “head tail” thing.

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Nsemani produced the normal locals and we found a saddle bill and a few ellies at Girivana, but were soon on our way back to camp as it was still 36 degrees at 5:30pm and it had been a long day.

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I immediately started the fire and in no time had a chicken flattie going, which has become a small ritual since RP served them in KNP.

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Our neighbours were winding themselves up and the gang of kids had glow sticks, so it looked like a crazy firework show and sounded like a mad playground, which resulted in my high powered torch making an appearance, but they ignored me, which only added to the frustration.

The cylinder head was about to go even with the Cow trying to calm things, but as luck would have it the neighbour on the other side of the faulty crowd was an overgrown and stormed across “ENOUGH!!” which instantly quietened things down.

To be continued

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Re: Browns in Kruger September 2013

Post by Bushcraft » Mon Oct 21, 2013 4:17 pm

25th Satara

We were up early this morning as we all had an early night, so ducked out of camp a few minutes after gate opening and again decided to head down to Nsemani Dam and then decide from there on what to do next.

The Nsemani pride were also up early and there to greet us.

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The 1 aunty was very active and then started plotting something in the distance which we couldn’t see.

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The others all started after the aunty, but the male didn’t seem keen to follow, although eventually something else got his attention and he was off after them.

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We sat scratching our pips as we had no idea on what to do next, so after throwing a few ideas around, we chose to duck back towards camp and head up the H1-4 to Ngotso Dam.

I turned out to be a faulty decision as things were very quiet on the H1-4, but eventually we found a Tawny to take a pic of.

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A few km before Ngotso I spotted a yellow ribbon approaching, so started waving out the window, but then started plotting on who it could be.

Fortunately it was a friendly chap, Porridge. We had never met before and he seemed like a cool guy, so after exchanging some info we said goodbye and continued on.

Ngotso Dam produced a few ellies and the 2 below confused me as the larger seemed interested in the smaller one and was following it everywhere “These 2 are going to mate!!”

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I frantically positioned the car to capture the action and all waited in anticipation.

The larger started to push up behind the smaller “It’s going to happen, get ready!!”

Nothing happened “What’s up with this!!”

Suddenly the smaller produced something in the lower area “What the.....It’s also a bull, its 2 males!!”

I turned the car and mildly offended headed back towards Satara for breakfast.

The drive back produced a few Kori bustards, a tortoise and all the normal general game.

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It was still rather early as we neared Satara, so we chose to drive back down to Nsemani to see if the lion had reappeared, but they hadn’t, although the junior hippo gang were out and about.

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The rats were now starting to wail for food, so we ducked back to Satara for breakfast.

The next episode introduces one of our best sightings this trip, so it’s going to span over a few posts and due to this I hope all don’t get bored.

To be continued

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Re: Browns in Kruger September 2013

Post by Bushcraft » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:19 am

25th Satara continued

It had developed into another hot day so after a late breakfast the rats ducked off to the pool again, the Cow got into her book and I tried to relax on the veranda with a G&T.

Suddenly Albert returned with eyes like saucers “Lizard!!, there’s a giant lizard in camp!!”, this set the Cow off with the camera, followed by Albert giving directions. I tried to look invisible as I really didn’t feel like chasing a lizard around camp in this heat.

15 minutes later all returned to destroy my peace, but when I checked the pics out I realized that Albert wasn’t exaggerating too much.

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We needed a leopard to equal our record of 6 days for the number of consecutive “leopard days”, so the plotting started to work out the best possible afternoon leopard route.

After a tense negotiation my route to the Nyamarhi area won.

All the pelicans were out by the time we reached Ngotso Dam as it had been very quiet, but I decided to persist with the plan and continued on.

A few km later we spotted a car stopped on the side of the road, so slowly pulled up next to them to ask what was happening. “We think that there’s a leopard under a bush over there”.

This got the teeth hanging out again and I slowly moved up the road.

Suddenly Hawkeyes shrieked “LEOPARD!!”, which caused me to hit the brakes so hard that the rats nearly landed in the front seat “WHERE!!!”

Hawkeyes was now under pressure to give directions “You see that big tree to the right and the log to the left of it”

“There’s plenty trees and logs!!”

Fortunately before the tension increased the leopard moved under the log and we all spotted it

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The leopard seemed to be holding something with its front foot and then after checking the scene out seemed to be biting something.

This increased my excitement “It’s got a rat!!”

Suddenly the leopard jumped up, looked at us, bent down, grabbed the “rat” and started to walk towards us.

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This got me vibrating “VIDEO!!! What is it carrying?” The arguments about the model of this little buck still continue, but Bushpig thinks it was a duiker, Hawkeyes insists it’s a baby bushbuck, the Cow recons it’s a steenbok and I’m confused as the markings lean towards a bushbuck, but the face looks like a duiker.

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Please forgive some of the next pics but we were battling to take pics as the setting sun was directly behind the leopard that’s why some are too bright and others dark.

The leopard continued straight towards us, so I initially thought she wanted to cross the road, but she stopped at a tree about 6m from us and bailed up.

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She then stopped on a low branch to plot the next move before charging right up to the upper branches to stash her kill.

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The leopard wasn’t visible in the upper branches and we could only make out shadows and the odd spot, so I started the car, which again set the Cow off “What are you doing, don’t you dare move!!”

We were looking directly into the sun so I was about to protest that we needed a different angle when the leopard moved “She’s coming back down!!!”

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To be continued

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Re: Browns in Kruger September 2013

Post by Richprins » Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:17 pm

Nice, Spotted Magnet! =O: =O: =O: =O: =O:

That is a baby bushbuck, which is interesting, as it indicates they may have their fawns at any time of year, even dry season? :shock:

No need to rush! ;-)
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