Brown's in Kruger August 2010 *

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Bushcraft
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Re: Brown's in Kruger August 2010

Post by Bushcraft » Sun May 20, 2012 7:58 pm

August 25th Ngwenya

We arrived at the gate at about 5:50, were about 6th in the queue and on our way into the park at about 6:15. I think people were a bit put off by the rain.

Morning Drive: Crocodile Bridge Gate/H4-2/H4-1 to Skukuza

When we left this morning, there was a slight drizzle, but Melly had promised us the evening before that it was going to be 30 degrees as per the weatherman, but I think we all know by now that he’s not meant to be trusted.

Our first encounter this morning was with some sleeping giraffe. This is the first time that we have ever seen giraffe lying down and we were all totally amazed. They must be very vulnerable in this position if there were any lions around.

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A few minutes later it start pouring with rain, but we were already in the park, so decided that the weatherman couldn’t be that wrong and just now the sun would come out, therefore we continued on.

What I found amazing was all the impala that came out and onto the road to drink from the puddles of water that had formed in the road.

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Our youngest, who sits in the middle of the back seat, likes to watch for animals in the road and shout out each time she sees something. We normally have already seen the animal prior to the alarm from the back seat, but we have mastered the fake surprise, because she lets rip if anyone else says that they saw it first, but now with all the impala in the road, the alarm was sounding so much it was giving me a headache.

By the time we reached the N’watimhiri causeway everyone was feeling rather despondent and I later found out that most of Supernova’s crew was sleeping. I stopped at that dirt road entrance and asked Supernova on the walkie talkie “Tar or dirt”, he said “whatever”. As I headed in the direction of the dirt, Chantal started to protest “We don’t have a 4x4, it’s still pouring with rain!!”, but I ignored all the comments and continued.

The drive was quiet until just before joining the tar again. Suddenly I shouted leopard and then the usual camera frenzy began. The instructions were flying from the passenger seat “Stop, move, you too close, go, let Supernova and Melly in”.
The rather large “cub” was charging around, in and out the bush, stalking and pouncing on her mother, etc, and the panic started in my car, because that usual slow motion that seems to happen at sightings like this was happening again and I was shrieking, because we still didn’t have a photo.

They were standing in the road when we spotted them, but by the time we were ready, they were already on the grass.

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Fortunately the curious cub was bored with her mother’s company and came back out the bush to check us out.

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The mom didn’t seem as pleased with our presence and kept giving us the hairy eyeball. I had to warn Chantal to watch her window.

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The naughty cub walked into the road and right up to our car, stopped next to Chantal’s window, checked out the yellow ribbon and then the windscreen wipers. Her head was moving from side to side as the wipers moved.

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The poor mother sat patiently on the grass and waited.

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The cub got bored with the wipers and decided to walk around to my side of the car and check me out. I couldn’t believe how totally unafraid she was, especially when she stopped right next to my open window and allowed me the opportunity to take such close up pictures.

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After a few minutes the mom got up, looked at her cub and moved off into the grass. I almost felt that she said “enough games, let’s go”. The cub seemed to be disappointed at having to move on.

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The mom moved off just beyond the first line of trees and sat down to wait for her cub, which was stalking her again and proceeded to jump on her back. This caused mom to move off into deeper bush.

It looked like they were heading for the tar, so we shot around to wait for them, but after 20 minutes it became clear that they had given everyone the slip, so we moved on to Skukuza for a Deli breakfast.

We found this little guy just outside Nkuhlu.

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After a quick loo break and a check at the sightings board, we found our first waterbuck.

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The rest of the trip to Skukuza was very quiet except for these buffalo.

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Skukuza Deli was quite full, even in the rain. While Supernova and I went in to order breakfast, Melly went back to the car and Chantal was left babysitting the kids.

Supernova made it through the queue and was off to get the coffee. I was halfway through explaining my order to the technically challenged cashier, when I saw the entire table of kids disappear and Melly was running behind them.

The kids were behaving, so Chantal had gone for a short stroll to the viewing deck and something in the riverbed caught her attention; a white puff was moving in the grass and the next thing she shouted “leopard”, which caused the mass evacuation that I was witnessing from the cashiers counter.

2 seconds later Bushpig came charging into the Deli shouting “leopard at the fence”, which caused me to abandon my eggs sunny side up explanation and join the crowd that was sprinting outside, much to the confusion of the cashier, who by now had got as far as scrambled eggs.

My arrival was 5 seconds to late, the leopard was gone. Chantal was walking around like a Cheshire cat, I wasn’t impressed as she was now one leopard up on me and all I could say was “where’s the photo” but was jealous as hell.

Supernova came out the Deli 2 minutes later with the coffee and asked what all the commotion was about; I think that he was as jealous after the story was told.

Chantal had to redo our order, while I sat at the fence.


It was after 11am before we left Skukuza and it had started raining again, so we decided to make tracks for Croc Bridge.

The drive down was fairly quiet, but nobody in our car was really looking too intently, because in the rain with all the windows up, it just didn’t feel the same.

Chantal did however find her first owl for the trip; it’s an Eagle Owl I think

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Next was this little tortoise, who gave us a laugh as he tried to get over the stick in the road. We always seem to find these chaps in the rain.

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Just before Croc Bridge we found this tree full of vultures and they were all trying to hide their faces from the rain.

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As we drove out Croc Bridge, on the bend just before the bridge, we found this big elephant having a feast.

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The teeth rattling dirt road awaited us, so we had stopped for a loo break to avoid an accident on the dirt, but Supernova and Melly continued.

On the drive back to Ngwenya, Chantal spotted a car broken down on the side of the road and said “should we help?” It was Supernova and Melly – they had driven over a piece of metal in the road and now had a flat tyre.

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I have never changed a Discovery’s tyre before and all that I can say is “@$%&@#$”.

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Re: Brown's in Kruger August 2010

Post by Bushcraft » Sun May 20, 2012 7:59 pm

Afternoon Drive: Crocodile Bridge/H4-2/S130/H4-2/Lower Sabie and back

Supernova and Melly decided to drive to Nelspruit to get the tyre repaired, so we kept Luckycharm and Tortoise with us. The sun had come out a bit so, at about 4pm, we decided to go back into the park, which left the poor girls 5 up on the back seat.

The check in went quickly and soon we were on our way again. I fully expected a massive fight and shrieking in the back in 5 minutes, but Bushpig and Tortoise paired off and spoke about every gross thing that they could thing of (farts, snot and poo!!!) and the others played their own game, which amazingly kept the peace in the back for the entire 2 hour drive.

We found these wildebeest having a snooze about 10 minutes into the drive.

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We decided to do the S130, which is a little loop that we had never done before. Our first animal was a rhino mom and calf, but they were a bit nervous and refused to pose for a picture.

We then found some kudu and this poor mom looked liked she had been crying.

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Next a zebra crossing, which had us all laughing.

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The rest of the drive to Lower Sabie was pretty quiet except for a herd of elephant. The little ones are always so cool.

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We decided to skip the loo stop and drive a little further, but after a few minutes the Garmin told us it was time to head back, so a quick u-turn, and we were on the way back.

5 minutes later 2 impala took off across the road in front of us. As we slowly approached, a couple in a car parked on the side of the road told us that they had just seen some lion chasing the impala. We drove slowly up and down, but all we managed to see twice was a lions butt as she walked between the bushes, but unfortunately never long enough to allow a picture.

Halfway back we found a Tawny Eagle??

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We also found a hyena, but unfortunately it was getting late and the light was bad, so even though we did get a few pics, the quality isn’t good, so not worth posting.

After all the rain it was still a big 5 day.

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Re: Brown's in Kruger August 2010

Post by Bushcraft » Sun May 20, 2012 8:00 pm

August 26th Ngwenya

We arrived at the gate and were in the park in no time.

Morning Drive: Crocodile Bridge Gate/H4-2/S130/H4-2/H4-1 to Skukuza

The mist was so thick for the first half an hour one couldn’t see very much. This picture was taken by Supernova and that’s our car in front.

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The first sighting, that we could see, was a lone rhino on the run and was half down the S130 loop.

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Then 7 or 8 giraffe arrived.

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The next sighting gave me the fight of my life, because I only saw this hyena once we were right on top of him. He was obliviously cold and was curled up in a ball next to the road, but he seemed to get an even bigger fright than me and soon moved off.

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The tree in the middle of the road was a unique feature of this road for us.

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Our next sighting looked like a baby ostrich to me, but the Cow was very excited and had to take many pictures. I think that it’s a Red-crested Korhaan.

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The rest of the road produced the usual zebra, warthog, etc and this Ground Hornbill that looked like it had a bad night.

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The rest of the drive up to Skukuza was fairly quiet, so we decided to try our little leopard loop, which had only produced lions so far on this trip, but has always produced a leopard at some stage for us on all our previous trips.

Today he was waiting for us.

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There was only a small gap in the bush where one could see him, which caused the usual scrap in my car; because the Cow wanted to take video and I wanted to take pictures, but no matter how I positioned the car, we both couldn’t aim through the bush. I was driving, so won this round, but got greased for it later.

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After a few minutes the leopard moved off and in panic we all reversed backwards, and then went forward again, trying to keep our eyes on him, but between all of us we lost him. It’s amazing how quickly they disappear in the grass. Supernova managed 1 last photo.

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The tar up to Skukuza produced a kingfisher, not sure of the model – please help ID.

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We had a quick look at the Skukuza sighting board and moved on down to the Deli for breakfast. Today we had the camera ready for the leopard, but he was a no show.

The birds all gave us a laugh though, because they took a liking to our breakfast and those that weren’t brave enough to attack the plates, sat in the tree and showered us with poo.

In the photo below one can see that we had all evacuated, but Bushpig and Albert refused to leave their plates and opted to argue with the birds. The hoods are on to keep the poo out of their hair, but eventually they also ran for cover.

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Re: Brown's in Kruger August 2010

Post by Bushcraft » Sun May 20, 2012 8:04 pm

Mid Morning Drive: Skukuza/H1-2/H12/H4-1 to Lower Sabie

The sighting board indicated that there were lions on the H1-2, so we opted for this route for our way back down to Lower Sabie.

Our first sighting was this rather sickly looking impala. I’m not sure if this is mange?

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The rest of the drive on the H1-2 was fairly quiet, with only a few scatterings of the usual suspects, but as we turned onto the H12 the king made an appearance.

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We sat and watched him for about 5 minutes when suddenly another head popped up. They must have been a mating pair.

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The male eventually got up and tried to use his charms to come right, but she definitely had a headache and let him know.

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I was glad that he came left, because it caused her to get up and move in our direction and he followed, but he wasn’t impressed with the crowd that was starting to form.

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Re: Brown's in Kruger August 2010

Post by Bushcraft » Sun May 20, 2012 8:04 pm

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Re: Brown's in Kruger August 2010

Post by Bushcraft » Sun May 20, 2012 8:06 pm

By now all the kids were starting to ask some tricky questions “what are we still waiting for, what do you mean he’s going to come right, why does she have a headache, why does he keep pawing her bum”. I looked at Chantal and she said “they are husband and wife” and the response came “is that why she has a headache?” By now I was biting my lip and the Cow was glaring at me, because I wasn’t taking the situation seriously.

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Re: Brown's in Kruger August 2010

Post by Bushcraft » Sun May 20, 2012 8:06 pm

Fortunately an idiot arrived at the sighting, which caused enough of a distraction to defuse my situation. He climbed more than halfway out of his car window, started taking pictures and talking at the top of his voice. This upset the male lion and he started to growl. 2 minutes later the same idiot opened his combi’s sliding door, stood in the open doorway and continued to take pictures. This caused the male to jump up and growl more viciously, which also caused us to nearly make a mess in our car, but the idiot in the combi to continued without batting an eyelid.

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Re: Brown's in Kruger August 2010

Post by Bushcraft » Sun May 20, 2012 8:07 pm

Eventually a few people close to the idiot started to pass a few comments, which resulted in the idiot grinning like the idiot that he was, but at least he closed the sliding door and sat in his car.

A few minutes later the lady in the car opposite us started waving her hands at us, which immediately resulted in an overreaction from me, and I started waving aggressively back, as I thought that this was their rude way of telling us to move, but after a few more signals Chantal realized that they were pointing at our yellow ribbon and were actually saying “howzit formite”, which resulted in big grins in our car and frantic waving back. We never got to speak unfortunately, because of the crowd chaos that had developed.

20 minutes later the female still had a bad headache and we realized that the male wasn’t going to come right in a hurry, so we chose to move on.

The S79 causeway produced a rather sociable herd of buffalo and just before the tar a couple of kudu. The kids always ask “why are they called kudu” and Supernova’s theory cracked me up “they are called kudu, because those round things down there bounce together and make the noise “kudu, kudu”, which had the kids howling with laughter.

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Just before Lower we came across some cars stopped on the side of the road, so stopped next to them and tried to see what they were looking at, but they seemed to be looking right across the Sabie River, so I pulled off, but Supernova stayed just long enough to hear a passing Sanparks vehicles occupants say “lion up ahead”. 2 seconds later the message came over the walkie talkie, which resulted in tunnel vision in our car.

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Re: Brown's in Kruger August 2010

Post by Bushcraft » Sun May 20, 2012 8:08 pm

1 minute later we found the lions

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Our famous leopard rock had now become lion rock.

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The 1 lone female was acting as a sentry right on top of the rock

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Supernova and Melly had gone around the turning circle to try and get in a better position, but the Cow and I had learnt from our previous leopard sighting on this rock, that a massive tree blocks your view from there, so we weren’t surprised to see them coming back towards us, but Supernova seemed to be getting continuous instructions from Melly, which had us all laughing in our car.

A few minutes into the sighting a small cub arrived on the rock and promptly went to sleep. It was now close to midday and we found it amazing that they were all still lying in the sun; it must have been a cold night for them and they were trying to defrost.

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Re: Brown's in Kruger August 2010

Post by Bushcraft » Sun May 20, 2012 8:09 pm

Supernova and Melly decided to drive up onto the small bridge next to the rock and got a different angle on the lions. The cub was in dreamland by this stage.

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Eventually the cub started overheating and moved off into the shade and out of sight, but the rest of the lions continued to suntan.

5 minutes later we were also starting to overheat, so decided to move on to Lower Sabie.

In the morning before we left I had snuck a cooler box into the back of the bakkie, which contained Supernova and Melly’s boerewors and some mini porkies and my plan was to stay in the park for the day, rather than having to drive that jaw rattling dirt road to Ngwenya twice.

I informed the Cow at the lion sighting and she was in agreement, but I think that Supernova and Melly thought that we were mad, as it had been a long day already, so after a conference at Lower Sabie, Supernova and Melly continued back down to Crocodile bridge with the now defrosted porkies and we stole their boerewors and decided to head up to Mlondozi, but after a look at the sighting board, decided to go up to Nkuhlu instead.

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