Brown's in Kruger August 2008 *

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Bushcraft
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Re: Brown's in Kruger August 2008

Post by Bushcraft » Sun May 20, 2012 2:04 pm

Afternoon Drive: H6 and Back

Supernova found this Pearl Spotted Owlet on the way down to the H6.

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The H6 was full of all the usual suspects

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When we arrived at N’wanetsi picnic spot we were the only people there, I thought “bonus we are all alone”, but Chantal didn’t share our smiles and did the hundred meter sprint of her life to the toilets with the kids. (I have to admit that I did a 100m sprint up to the look out and back)

Halfway back to Satara we found the first and only Nyala of our trip.

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Later that evening, after our braai, things took a nasty turn for us, as Madison’s fever wouldn’t break, so concerned panic set in and eventually she ended up in a basin of cool water to break her fever. (Maybe there’s some truth in old wives tales, because it worked”

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Re: Brown's in Kruger August 2008

Post by Bushcraft » Sun May 20, 2012 2:07 pm

August 29th Satara to Talamati

Morning Drive: S100/S41/H6/S126/S36/S145 to Talamati

Supernova and Melly had done the S100 before, but it was a first for Chantal and I, so I was very keen to see “the lion highway”. After the first half an hour I thought “lion highway, my @#$#@”, as we hadn’t seen a living creature, but just around the corner we found the chap below.

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The next stop was N’wanetsi picnic spot for some sarmies and a toilet break, but this time there were a few more people around.

Then we moved on to Sweni Hide, another spot that none of us had ever been to. I was super keen as the roads were quiet and it was still early, so I thought that this was our chance to sit in a hide with the kids and not disturb anyone, so I pulled a little ahead of Supernova on the way down to the hide.

There were no other cars in the parking lot when we pulled in, so I was even keener, jumped out the car and started walking to the hide.

The next thing Chantal was shrieking at me from the car and waving her arms, I thought “what now, hurry up” and then the word “elephant” filtered through to me. Standing 2 meters to the left of the hide entrance just behind a bush was a large elephant.

At first I thought that my eyes were playing tricks on me, but then the reality sunk in and it was my turn to do the 20 meter dash back to the car. As I bailed into the car I half expected the elephant to follow me in, but he hadn’t moved.

Fortunately the elephant lost interest in us and moved off down the valley, which allowed us into the hide, but all we found were green crocodiles and a few birds.

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The H6 was quiet, but just before we rejoined the H1-3 something running in the grass caught my attention. It was a badger, but with all the frantic reversing, etc, we only managed to get 1 blurred picture of this A.D.D fellow. It’s a bad picture, but I was still proud of our first badger.

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The S126 was very quiet, but it was heading towards that time of the day. Halfway down the road we found a few vultures eating the remains of an impala, so something must have been there earlier. We sat around for a few minutes and then moved on to Muzandzeni picnic spot for a toilet break.

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None of us had ever been to Muzandzeni before and had no idea what to expect. When I saw the little wooden fence, the skulls in the trees, and the long drop towards the back I just knew that there would be a few raised eyebrows. To top it off there were some large elephant and giraffe about 50 meters away.

The expression on Chantal’s face below shows how much she enjoyed being out the car so close to elephants.

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Unfortunately Bushpig also saw the elephants and thought that it was time to get the Rambo image back and took off around the other side of the car to get a closer look, which caused massive panic and some frantic shouts of stop. Fortunately the elephant also saw BP and took off into the bush.

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The excursion to the long drop took awhile, fortunately, because Chantal managed to eves drop on another group of people talking about lions down the road, so we loaded up and we were off to find the lions on a stretch of road that we had never driven before.

When we arrived at Ximangwaneni Dam there were a few cars around, but nobody seemed to be looking at anything in particular, so we continued around to the dam wall where 1 lone car had stopped and the occupants seemed to be looking into the bush more intently.

We stopped next to them and tried to follow their line of sight, but the rude occupants refused to acknowledge our presence and 2 seconds later drove off shaking their heads. I was about to “flip them the bird” when we saw what had got their attention.

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The rest of the S36 and the S145 to Talamati was quiet, but when we arrived at Talamati a herd of elephant had just arrived at the waterhole in front of the camp and some, much to Chantal’s delight, were still crossing the road right in front of the camp.

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We snuck past the herd and into camp, but as we got out the cars one elephant started to reverse its bum into the camp entrance, which caused big eyes all around. Fortunately it realized that this was not an elephant parking lot and took off to join the rest of the herd.

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The Talamati units are awesome and we found the camp great fun to explore.

Supernova found an Owl just outside his unit in the middle of the day.

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We decided to all walk to the hide at the entrance gate and check out the waterhole, but a shock waited for us when we arrived. A lone Sable was standing there looking at us, which caused Melly and I to race back to our respective units for the cameras. I beat Melly back to the hide and with a massive smile tried to take the first photo, but nothing happened, the camera wouldn’t switch on.

I had forgotten that the battery was on charge, so another 100m sprint started. The rest of the camp visitors seemed to find us rather amusing; it must have been that generation gap thing again.

At least the Sable was still there.

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Re: Brown's in Kruger August 2008

Post by Bushcraft » Sun May 20, 2012 2:09 pm

Afternoon Drive: S145/S36 to Ximangwaneni Dam and Back

After we found the lions at Ximangwaneni Dam this morning the decision was to go back to the dam and see if we could find them again.

Halfway to the S36 we found our first ostrich of the trip

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The rest of the way to the dam on the S36 was rather quiet, but as we came over the hill and down behind the dam wall we found a group of zebra trying to cross the road, we drove 30 meters past them and found this next to the road.

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She was intently studying the zebra and I couldn’t help but feel that we may have wrecked her chances of making a kill, but suddenly her cub came out the bush and didn’t seem to care about the fact that her mother was trying to hide behind a bush.

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The zebra saw the cub and took off into the bush, so the mother relaxed a little, but a few minutes later she picked up on something else on the other side of the road and started to cross with her cub.

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It was other members of her pride that had been in the bush on the other side of the road.

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She didn’t seem too pleased with the fact that the new arrival lay down right next to her cub and proceeded to let her know.

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5 minutes later the walkie talkie went “Watch out for the lion coming out the bush just behind you”. Supernova had spotted another lion and our windows were all open. The 2nd new arrival joined the rest of the group.

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Another car from Talamati had arrived, so it was just the 3 vehicles with them for about another 20 minutes. Supernova managed to get some awesome pictures

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Another car arrived 10 minutes later and the male passenger seemed to be talking to the lions, we couldn’t make out what he was saying, but he got the interest of one of the females, who proceeded to walk over to his car, but she stopped suddenly just before his car, jumped backwards and almost started to cower. This happened twice in a row and now she seemed afraid and was desperately trying to get across the road.

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I looked inquiringly at the other Talamati resident parked next to us and saw that he had eyes like saucers, so I said to him “What’s going on over there” and his response also shocked me, “That black gentleman is waving a 9mm at the lion”

The lady driver saw that we had picked up on what her male passenger was doing and was trying to hide her head behind the steering wheel. 2 seconds later she started the car and came towards us.

Now a million things go through one’s head in situations like this, but 9 times out of 10 one looks back and thinks “I should have done that”, but hindsight is always easy.

As they came past me, right next to my window, I indicated that they should stop, but the lady driver wouldn’t even look in my direction, so I concentrated on the male and said “What are you doing?”, his reply told me all I needed to know, “I shoot lions, I shoot lions”, but he was so drunk that he was battling to even get the words out and because we were higher than them I could still see the 9mm lying on his lap.

I then realized that there was no way that I could talk to this guy as it would end in an argument and the 9mm would come in play, so the only other option was to punch his lights out, but I had the kids in the car and he was armed, etc, but as I had all these thoughts charging through my head, Chantal started next to me “You damn idiot”, so I put my hand up to silence her and fortunately the lady driver also saw that this wasn’t going to end well and rapidly pulled off.

Supernova, who was ahead of us and off to one side had seen that something had transpired, but wasn’t sure what, so I informed them on the walkie talkie and then spoke to other Talamati resident next to me that had seen the entire incident and asked him what we should do. He said that he was going back to camp to report it and that I should try and find a way of getting a message to Orpen gate, which was probably where they were heading.

The lions by now had crossed the road and were slowly making their way into the bush behind the dam wall.

After checking the time we realized that there was no way of making it to Orpen and back to camp, so we drove around towards Muzandzeni picnic site and 20 minutes later found 2 tour operators, reported the incident to them, thinking that because they have radios, they would be able to relay the message to somebody, but neither operator was willing to get involved and said that our gun waving idiots were probably long gone by now. We hoped that our fellow Talamati resident had more success.

We drove back to camp in silence, everyone caught up in their own thoughts.

After the braai Supernova and I walked to the hide to have a beer in peace and we found a rhino drinking as we arrived, but then a strange thing happened. A large elephant also arrived and didn’t like the fact that the rhino was there drinking and proceeded to chase the rhino all over the place. It was very funny to watch, but probably very dangerous for the poor rhino, who just managed to escape.

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Re: Brown's in Kruger August 2008

Post by Bushcraft » Sun May 20, 2012 2:10 pm

August 30th Talamati

Due to a longer night than normal we decided to sleep in this morning and explore the camp. We also had a long drive back to JHB the next day, so decided to take it easy today.

Supernova and I found these 2 along the fence line while walking around the camp.

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The resident female sable and the waterhole locals showed up after breakfast.

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The hide at Talamati in my opinion is in an awesome position and many of the frequent Talamati locals say that they often just sit and watch the waterhole for the day, but I must admit that I would take major strain sitting in one place all day. (Unless I had a case of beers, an attached toilet and no kids)

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“Tortoise” and “Albert” enjoyed the statues outside the hide.

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After a relaxing morning and a late lunch we packed the cars and headed out for an afternoon drive.

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Re: Brown's in Kruger August 2008

Post by Bushcraft » Sun May 20, 2012 2:11 pm

Afternoon Drive: S145/S125 to the first waterhole and back

The first sighting for the afternoon was 2 rhino having a late afternoon nap.

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The rest of the drive was very quiet, so we decided to go back to Talamati, but we arrived with still an hour to spare before gate closing, so we continued on to the first waterhole on the S140, but when we arrived the waterhole was empty, but just as we were about to go back to camp a herd of elephant started making their way out of the bush.

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When they arrived and found that the waterhole was empty they started throwing a massive tantrum. They were trumpeting, kicking up dust, flapping ears and basically looking for something to take out their frustration on, so we decided that it was time to kick it back to camp.

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2 km later this is what waited for us around the bend. It was getting very dark now, so it was difficult to get decent pictures.

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When we arrived at camp Chantal and I went back to our unit, which was about 6 units down from Supernova and Melly’s unit, with the plan to bath the kids and link up for a braai afterwards. Chantal and the kids took too long in the bath for my liking, so the stress was starting to build, “Hurry up Supernova is probably braaiing already”

Chantal then decided that it was too dangerous to walk to Supernovas unit, and if the kids fell asleep, how were we going to carry them all back. This increased my frustration as I had already had a few beers and Chantal wouldn’t drive Supernova’s car, so I shouted “Get in the car, let’s go”

The argument continued as I was reversing and suddenly “thwack” a big bang and the car stopped. I had reversed into a tree stump. Then it really started “You see what’s happened now”, “I didn’t drive into the tree you idiot” was the response.

We arrived at Supernova’s unit with lemon faces, but I must admit he took it pretty well. (R 17 000 in damages)

The faces weren’t all smiles at the braai that night.

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After the braai we all took a walk to the hide and found a huge herd of elephants silently drinking and then they walked right past the front of the hide on their way back into the thick bush, which was an amazing sighting for us and the kids to see. I find it incredible that so many large animals can be so quiet.

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Re: Brown's in Kruger August 2008

Post by Bushcraft » Sun May 20, 2012 2:12 pm

August 31th Talamati to JHB

This was our going away present on the S36 on the way out the park.

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Thanks for your support and comments
Bushcraft

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