Brown's in Kruger April 2012

User avatar
Bushcraft
Committee Member
Posts: 13951
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 2:59 pm
Location: KZN, South Africa

Brown's in Kruger April 2012

Post by Bushcraft » Tue May 22, 2012 7:51 pm

Hi Guys;

The Browns are back again

Our last 8 trips have been with my brother, Supernova and clan, but due to school holiday issues between JHB private schools and KZN public schools, we were unable to link up for this trip. (Supernova leaves tomorrow for KNP)

This was going to be the second Easter in KNP for Bushcraft, The Cow, Hawkeyes, Bushpiggy and Albert, so the rats again had major lion eating Easter Bunny concerns and I had the usual crowd and Malaria concerns.

The Cow gave the rats a long speech explaining that it would be safer for the Bunny to visit Toti and that he would hide the eggs in a safe spot. After some thought, the rats addressed a letter to the Bunny explaining that our dog Monty was the safer option for him.
After many changes the trip ended up as below:

30th Nkonkoni Camp Jozini Dam
31st, 1st and 2nd Skukuza
3rd, 4th and 5th Satara
6th Skukuza
7th Lower Sabie
Returning on the 8th, Easter Sunday, as no accommodation was available 11 months in advance for families.

Supernova and Melly normally bring our meat, eggs, dairy, dop, etc from JHB, because of the faulty Swazi border post officials, but this time we had to sort things out ourselves, so my usual neurotic planning started many months in advance. My Gin found its way into clear water bottles, but on advice, decided to purchase the rest in Komatipoort or Malelane.

The rats all took Malaria tablets, but the Cow and I are still waiting to see if we made the correct choice by ducking them.

Long grass and thick bush, definitely and after the first 2 days we were again wondering why people ever visit KNP during the April Easter holidays, but things improved as the trip continued.

We battled again for my favourite animal, had 5 sightings of a supposedly rare group, many of the usual and new scraps and a few disappointments, but the trip contained a few surprises.

To be continued

User avatar
Bushcraft
Committee Member
Posts: 13951
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 2:59 pm
Location: KZN, South Africa

Re: Brown's in Kruger April 2012

Post by Bushcraft » Tue May 22, 2012 7:52 pm

March 30th Jozini Dam

The rats were already on holiday and the Cow took the day off to do last minute shopping, but I still had to work half day, so we had the usual panic to pack the car and get to the camp before dark.

Nkonkoni camp has become part of our KNP holidays now and I was fairly surprised when nobody welcomed us and the reception area was deserted. My blood pressure was up after 4 hours in the car, so I was hanging for the first beer of the day and this delay wasn’t helping things.

We previously stayed in the safari tents, but after the Cow took a look at the chalets last year, the tents have disappeared from our accommodation list; therefore we knew the requested chalet number and decided to just move in.

The camp manager phoned during the unpacking procedure and said “You guys have been here enough and know the ropes, just leave the money under the reception door”, which I thought was particularly cool, as we were now trusted locals.

Image

Image

I suggested that the car was over loaded and therefore we needed a large wood fire to reduce our stocks immediately. The con worked and the large wood fire started, but I was maybe a little excited at the prospect and put too much wood on, as the surrounds of the “boma” started to smoulder.

My teeth had been hanging out and now I had to subtly find something to put water in and extinguish parts of my fire before the Cow figured it out and gave me a greasing. I casually waddled into the kitchen were the Cow was still unpacking, grabbed the units ice bucket, filled it with water unnoticed and made my way back to the fire.

What I hadn’t realized is that the ice bucket was made up of two parts, an inner and outer, so my extinguishing throw with the bucket resulted in the inner piece landing in the fire, so now I had a duel crisis.

Panic had taken over as the “loyal trusted customer” was about to burn down the “boma” and the ice bucket inner was starting to melt.

Thankfully, just as I was about to urinate on the ice bucket inner to save it, it fell out of the fire.

The run to the kitchen this time was slightly more frantic and the Cow picked up that there was an issue and said “WHATS GOING ON”, so I calmly stated “The wall is hot from the fire, so I’m cooling it”, which she accepted with a nod and the continued unpacking.

After 3 runs the fire was under control and my teeth were hanging out again.

Image

Our first visitor arrived a few minutes later and I was surprised at the lack of fear. At one stage while trying to take pics thought that I was going to get flattened, so backed off.

Image

Two junior warthogs then arrived and they all got a lecture from Albert about the fact that they shouldn’t be hanging around so close to our unit.

Image

Due to the fact that my wood fire had been partially extinguished I realized that it would take longer, so we ducked down to the hide, which is on a small dam 50m from our unit.

Just in case you are wondering, Bushpiggy, with the red lips in the middle, had just been caught chewing on the Cow’s red strawberry Labello prior to the picture.

Image

There was a herd of Nyala hanging out at the dam, but I only had my 55mm lens on, so after 1 pic, gave up.

Image

We did however find the remains of 1 of the dam’s inhabitants and this suited the current lens.

Image

The weather was starting to look seriously ominous, so after 20 minutes at the hide we decided to duck back and braai while we still had some coals left.

Image

Image

Our earlier visitors arrived again as soon as we dished up for the kids and it almost looked as if they were begging, which was sad to see.

Image

A large herd of Nyala also arrived, so the Amarula came out and I started to get that relaxed bush feeling.

To be continued

User avatar
Bushcraft
Committee Member
Posts: 13951
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 2:59 pm
Location: KZN, South Africa

Re: Brown's in Kruger April 2012

Post by Bushcraft » Tue May 22, 2012 7:53 pm

March 31st Jozini Dam to Skukuza

We woke up to a fairly cold morning and it had been drizzling on and off throughout the night, so I was keen to get on the road to the border post early, but I had “relaxed” a little too much the previous evening, so a 5am outside shower was required to kick start the body.

We all wished Bushpiggy happy birthday and she reminded me of the promised lunch at Selati restaurant, which was part of the bribe that I had sold her for not bringing all the presents in the car.

By the time I had finished a cup of coffee all were ready to leave, but my stomach, as usual, wasn’t playing the game, so there was no way I was getting in the car until things were a little more “comfortable”

Now, there’s one thing that I really don’t fancy in the animal world and its insects, so you can imagine my horror when I suddenly spotted a scorpion cruising towards me while relaxing on the loo.

I roared out of the loo with thoughts that it was still behind me and let all know that there was a killer scorpion waiting to ambush someone in loo. The Cow was relaxed and said “Let’s take a picture of it”.

I expected a “bigger” response from her, so blurted out “The cameras are packed and there’s no ways I’m unpacking them”. She said “I have my cell phone”

Image


The scorpion also seemed relaxed and my “uncomfortable” feeling was now stronger then my fear of insects, so I returned to the loo, but never took my eyes off the neighbour.

By 6am we were on the 5km dirt road out of Nkonkoni, but around one of the last corners a surprise waited for us in the road and I’m not sure who got the biggest fright, the Cow or the elephant.

We have been warned that the Jozini elephant don’t fancy vehicles and this guy was no exception as he immediately started towards us. Surprisingly the Cow managed to snap off a shot with her cell phone.


Image


After reversing for 10 minutes I was getting seriously irritated as this guy just kept on coming and we were getting late for the border post queue, so I decided to stop reversing, which resulted in a seriously excited Cow next to me “What the hell are you doing!!!”.

I ignored the Cow and continued to watch the elephant, who also seemed excited about the fact that I had stopped and continued on, but the flapping ears became more vigorous.

I read somewhere that as long as his trunk isn’t rolled up then his “charge” is more of a bluff, so I put the car in first and headed slowly towards him, which obviously got the Cow going again “Are you mad!!!”, but the ellie stopped this time and looked confused, so I stopped to give him a chance to decide the next move and he decided to duck off into the grass.

Just before the border post it started raining, so I expected the worst, but surprisingly the border officials didn’t like the rain, so after the passports were stamped, we were waved through by the officials who were all sitting in their hut.

We had torrential rain through Swaziland and it was impossible to overtake as I couldn’t see more than 20m in front of the car, so the trip to Komatipoort took way longer than expected.

The rain slowed a few km from town, but it was now almost 11am, so my blood pressure was up again, as we still had all our shopping to do.

Leachy recommended a butcher in the “Spar” complex and I was pleasantly surprised at the amount and quality of meat available. Thanks Leachy.

We still had to go to the Spar for the rest of our supplies and it was extremely busy, so we only got back in the car an hour later and into the park after 12:30pm.

All were now hungry, so I suggested that we move Bushpiggy’s birthday lunch to Lower Sabie Deli and all agreed.


To be continued

User avatar
Bushcraft
Committee Member
Posts: 13951
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 2:59 pm
Location: KZN, South Africa

Re: Brown's in Kruger April 2012

Post by Bushcraft » Tue May 22, 2012 7:54 pm

March 31st Jozini Dam to Skukuza continued

Before I continue, I see that many are still including rhino sightings in their TR’s, but keeping the location vague. I will do the same and where I can’t keep the location vague, I will omit that sighting. If anyone has a major issue with this please say so and I will omit all rhino sightings.

We did however find Rhino every day, except the day we left the park, which with the current poaching situation in Kruger, was a surprise for us, but sadly our neighbours at Skukuza moaned to us that in 4 days they still hadn’t found rhino.

On route to Lower Sabie we found rhino, elephant, giraffe, zebra, a lone bushbuck and most of the usual suspects, but it was drizzling again and surprisingly cold for the time of the year in Kruger.

Image

Image

Image

Lower Sabie was packed when we arrived, which may have had something to do with the 2pm book in time, as it was around that time.

The queue was rather long at the Deli and after 5 minutes with the same person still waiting for service in the front, my gasket blew, so it was chips and biltong at the shops and on to Skukuza, but first we took a few pics from the restaurant deck of the locals.

Image

Image

All the locals were hanging out at Sunset dam.

Image

Image

Next up was an interesting sighting which caught us all by surprise. We spotted a car stopped further up the road, so I stopped to try and see what was going on, when suddenly the car door opened and the passenger got out.

This started chorus from my car, as the rats get even more excited with these things than I do.

Image

The law breakers moved on ignoring us, but below is a pic of what caused their excitement. We spotted at least another 20 to 30 terrapin in the road on the way up to Skukuza, which for us was a first and I can only put it down to the weather. Does anyone have an explanation for this type of terrapin behaviour?

Image

Our last sighting for the day, besides the usual gang, was a Brown Snake Eagle

Image

I left the Cow at reception to book us in and took the kids down to Selati for Bushpiggy’s birthday hamburger, but to our surprise it was closed and upon investigation we found out that it only opens for supper nowadays, which resulted in a major Bushpig pelican, so I ducked back to reception to fetch the Cow, who was now required to assist with the pelican faces and started an early braai at our GC4V unit.

At around 6pm I was halfway through my 2nd dop when I heard someone calling for Bushcraft, it was Puppy from the SPF. I think that my green ribbon may have caused confusion initially.

About 8 months ago we corresponded about a meet in Skukuza and due to my banning I couldn’t access my PM’s, so gave up on ever finalizing things.

Puppy, SO and their grand kids also had a fire going and suggested that we join them for a braai as their GC6 unit had more space. We agreed and said that we would see them in 10 minutes.

The Cow got busy packing our cooler box and I tried to rescue the wood and briquette pieces from my fire that hadn’t fully got going yet, which I think confused the heck out of my neighbour.

We had a great meet and I’m always amazed how easily people who love similar things get on. Puppy’s SO is also a big time fisherman, so we had plenty to discuss which resulted in a few dops going down, but I behaved myself, hopefully.

Halfway through our braai a small bush baby arrived and sat in the tree about a 1m from the Cow, but I didn’t have my camera and Puppy’s SO didn’t want their grand kids to take a picture with the flash on, so unfortunately no pics.

Thanks Puppy and SO for an awesome meet.

To be continued

User avatar
Bushcraft
Committee Member
Posts: 13951
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 2:59 pm
Location: KZN, South Africa

Re: Brown's in Kruger April 2012

Post by Bushcraft » Tue May 22, 2012 7:56 pm

April 1st Skukuza

I felt a little rough at 6am, due to the previous evenings meet, but we were still in the car by 6:15am.

The Skukuza sighting board had very few magnets available, so it was impossible to interpret any form of pattern; therefore we winged a roundabout route for the morning, which included a loo stop at Lower Sabie and breakfast at Mlondozi.

I got a major surprise when I downloaded the pictures from this day, as our first sighting was a “ladybug” in the back seat of our car. Albert had sneaked a pic of her favourite animal while we were still getting going.

Image

Our little dirt road loop, which is only 2km long, just a few km from Skukuza has produced a leopard for us on many occasions over the years, so it’s become routine to drive it each day when in the area, but no leopards today.


Next up we found RP’s clan having a morning grooming session and a little further on our second Giant Kingfisher of the trip.

Image

Image

Next up was a vulture and another Brown Snake Eagle who gave us a chance to get pics. I’m sure that it’s the same BSE from the previous evening, but the Cow insists that we stop for just about every bird, which drives me moggie, as I’m not a big birder, although after a few days of this trip things changed as a “bird” became a major sighting, because things were so quiet initially. All non birders hang around as things improve later.

Image

Image

On the Lower Sabie side of the S79 causeway we found plenty vultures all hanging around and another guy, who had also stopped, informed us that they had heard about a lion kill in the area, so we also hung around for about 20 minutes, but nobody seemed to find any evidence of lion or the kill, so we moved on, as there was now a large traffic jam with everybody looking at each other confused.

A few km before Lower Sabie we spotted a lone elephant having a drink at the Sabie, but something gave him a big fright as he suddenly started back peddling and trumpeting. He then turned and came with speed towards the road, crossed a road behind us and kept on going without slowing. We sat around for awhile wondering what had set him off.

Image

Albert got us going again, as she started “I need the toilet” and a few seconds later I was on the move with my nose out the window, because Albert had dropped a bomb. The other rats were all shrieking, Albert was wailing as all had blamed her and the Cow was trying to keep the peace.

The Cow took the rats to the bog and I went to check the sighting board, which made for a dismal experience as again very few magnets and very little reported.

It also started drizzling again and a very cold wind was howling, so I was a little nervous about Mlondozi, but we decided to continue on as we were close already.

The H10 Bridge produced all the locals, so after a brief pause we continued on.

Just as we headed up the slope at the other end of the bridge the Cow again shouted stop. It was what I think is a Woodland Kingfisher. I’m too lazy to go through the bird books, so please if I stuff up an ID, help me out.

Image

A little further on we found a gang of junior giraffe that all seemed about the same age, but there was only 1 adult with them, which freaked me out, as there surely had to be more adults around with this many lighties.

Image

The next couple of km produced our first Martial Eagle of the trip, a giraffe that had hardly any spots and what I think is a European Roller.

Image

Image

Image

We met another couple at the Roller sighting and got chatting. They mentioned that they had just come from Mlondozi and that the howling wind made it impossible to cook breakfast, so we decided to duck down another dirt road, head back to Lower Sabie, stop to buy some snacks to shut the hungry rats up and then head back to camp for breakfast.

A couple of km down “this” road we found our first Mom and junior rhino.

Image

Image

To be continued

User avatar
Bushcraft
Committee Member
Posts: 13951
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 2:59 pm
Location: KZN, South Africa

Re: Brown's in Kruger April 2012

Post by Bushcraft » Tue May 22, 2012 7:57 pm

April 1st Skukuza continued

Joining the H10 again, we stopped at the H10 Bridge again, but for a longer period to take a pic of one of the locals

Image

The road to the causeway was quiet again, but we found a few birds along the way, which I stopped to photograph in desperation. I think that the one below is a European Bee Eater.

Image

At the causeway we decided to take the tar section rather than the dirt S79 section. Mainly, because I had lost interest in the birds and I was thinking about bacon, eggs and my stomach, but at the N’watimhiri bridge crossing we found our first lion of the trip having a snooze below the bridge.

Image

Image

After a few conversions with people stopped at the sighting, the general story was that the rest of the pride had moved up river, hence up the S21, so in our wisdom the plans changed to driving up the S21 towards the H3 and then back to Skukuza.

The S21 is 27km of dirt and after 3km the bacon and eggs were looking a long way away, but do we turn and drive back, or just continue? After a mini Cow conference, we decide to continue on the S21.

The first, no name, body of water 5km up the S21 produced our first Saddle Billed Stork of our trip.

Image

Every couple of km we spotted a tortoise in the road, which as with the terrapins was a strange thing to see, so we slowed and watched the road mainly, which resulted in two chameleon sightings in the middle of the road and eventually a pic of one of the tortoises, who we found to be surprisingly fast at ducking into the grass when they see or hear a vehicle.

Image

Image

Image

After another 10km all the lips were on the floor as we had bitten off more than we could chew as the road was very quiet and all stomachs were crying for breakfast, so we all ended up with tunnel vision. The last part of the S21 however produced a few of the usual gang including a Klipspringer hanging out on a Klippie.

Image

Renosterkoppies was also quiet and by now all could only think of chow, so we ducked down the S112 to the tar.

It was now after 11pm, so the H3 was also quiet, but we did find our biggest tortoise of the trip on the way back to Skukuza.

Image

After a late breakfast/lunch we decided to go up to the Skukuza reception to plan our bookings for next year March. It was the 1st of April, but a Sunday, so bookings for next year March only opened on Monday the 2nd, but we thought it would be best to make arrangements now with the reception staff.

The first 2 staff members didn’t understand how to use the booking system, but eventually a third arrived that did understand, so the Cow explained that we would like to book the GC4V unit again for the end of March 2013 and that this would be possible at 7:30am tomorrow morning.

The staff member noted the dates, etc and said that we could go on our morning drive and that they would sort it out for us first thing in the morning, which I thought was pretty cool as I had originally planned a short morning drive to be back at 7:30am to do the booking.

It had been a long morning for the rats in the car and the weather was still terrible, so we only left camp at about 4:30pm for a short drive to Kruger gate and back, as there had been a few wild dog sightings reported from that area.

Things were very quiet and there was plenty of day visitor traffic heading that way also, so probably a mistake, but we did find a few boons and an angry hippo.

Image

Image

To be continued

User avatar
Bushcraft
Committee Member
Posts: 13951
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 2:59 pm
Location: KZN, South Africa

Re: Brown's in Kruger April 2012

Post by Bushcraft » Tue May 22, 2012 7:58 pm

April 2nd Skukuza

If I’m in the park more than 2 days and haven’t found a leopard the panic button gets hit, so we again chose to drive along a H4-1 and then down the H4-2 as far as the S28 turnoff, because that’s been our most productive route for leopard over the years.

We found most of the usual suspects, including a large RP gang with one individual who was trying to get lucky.

Image

By the time we reached the S28 turnoff we had seen no cats or anything special, so my pelican face was truly evident and I was moaning big time about Kruger at this time of the year, but just then a car stopped next to us to ask if we had seen anything, so I replied “Nothing much all the way from Skukuza”, they replied “Also nothing much up from Croc Bridge, but there are dogs on the side of the road just around the corner”

I hope that they didn’t think I was rude, because I started in that direction while they were still talking.

To my surprise all the dogs were all huddled together in the sun sleeping just off the road.

Image

There were also only a few cars, so we switched off next to them and waited as the dogs were going to move at some stage. Looking around we realized that only 2 cars were watching the same thing as us and the other cars a little up the road were watching a single dog that was moving around, but we chose to just sit it out with these guys.

10 minutes later a few started checking out the area, which caused some excitement and hand waving from many people further up the road that obviously hadn’t seen these dogs.

Image

Image

Image

Image

They kept getting up, moving around and then going back to sleep again, so we started watching the lone dog further up the road, who was regurgitating food and then eating it again, which brought howls of disgust from the rats, but we weren’t able to get a good pic through the long grass, so just sat back and enjoyed spending time with them.

About 20 minutes later something gave them all a fright as suddenly they were all up and looking all over the place, which caught us all by surprise, because the cameras weren’t ready, etc.

Image

A few seconds later they started to move off into deeper bush where they plonked down to sleep again, so we decided to go back and do a little of the S28 and then return to see if things had changed.

The first thing that I had to stop for was this creature below and then a few boons all up a dead tree.

Image

Image

The S28/S137 junction produced a large impala herd and our turning point to head back to check out the dogs again.

Image

The dogs were still sleeping deeper in the bush and the traffic jam was increasing in size, so we did a u-turn and headed back to Lower Sabie for a loo stop.

The road from Lower Sabie to the H12 Bridge was again very quiet and Hawkeyes had been nagging to get a pic of the damage that the floods did to the bridge, so I went a little of the way down the S30 and did a u-turn, so she could get a pic at the angle she wanted.

Image

Just before we hit the tar the Cow shouted “STOP there’s a snake in the road” I’m not sure of the ID, but I think that it’s a Striped Skaapsteker.

Image

About 10 km from Skukuza a massive traffic jam appeared in the road, so we slowly made our way into the chaos and asked what the cause was. Supposedly a lion cub had crossed the road and was now deep in the bush.

This wasn’t my cup of tea, so we wiggled our way through the crowds and in the process spotted the cub. The Cow managed to snap off pic before it ducked into the bush again.

Image

We stopped at Skukuza reception on our way into camp to get our reservation details for next year’s holiday, but were told “Sorry, we forgot”. I lost it big time as I knew that it was possibly too late to book the requested accommodation as it was going to be in the school holidays, so asked for the camp manager. When this was ignored I tried to find Mari, the duty manager, who has assisted before, but she was out, so I asked “Who’s in charge?”

I was told “We are all in charge”, so I explained to all that because they forgot they had cost us our trip for next year as all the family units were already gone. I was then told “Next time do it yourself”, so I walked out before things got really nasty.

To be continued

User avatar
Bushcraft
Committee Member
Posts: 13951
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 2:59 pm
Location: KZN, South Africa

Re: Brown's in Kruger April 2012

Post by Bushcraft » Tue May 22, 2012 8:00 pm

April 2nd Skukuza continued

After brunch I was still seriously wild about the booking balls up and our neighbours had arrived with bicycles, so a few double G&T’s were on the cards

The Cow and Hawkeyes decided that I required space to sulk, so they ducked off with a camera to see what they could find around camp and got an interesting shot of this guy.

Image

Then the Cow hurt her neck looking up in a tree for 20 minutes trying to get a shot of this bird, which combined with the G&T’s and the sun, which had made its first appearance since we arrived, brought my sense of humour back.

Image

I then decided to rope in the two younger rats, Bushpiggy and Albert, to help prepare the fire for when we got back from our afternoon drive. I found the axe use rather tricky after the dops though and my neighbour was watching, so I didn’t want to make a chop out of myself; therefore serious concentration was required.

Image

I was now also irritated with the sighting situation, so decided to duck my favourite leopard area and head down the S114 for the afternoon drive.

The S114 also produced most of the usual gang, but it wasn’t until just after Renosterkoppies that the “action” improved.

We spotted a small traffic jam and a few vultures in the trees, so thought that something had to be up.

Image

I spotted two heads in the dense grass about 30m off the road as we approached, but the rest of the clan were highly excited that they couldn’t see them, so I repositioned and we waited. About 20 minutes later one of the male lions got up and moved off into deeper bush.

Image

Another couple at the sighting informed us that the 2 males had killed a buffalo and pointed out the carcass, which was very difficult to see in the long grass.

We sat around for another 15 minutes and the last male didn’t seem in a hurry to move, so we decided to go up to Stevenson-Hamilton Memorial for a smoke and then return to see if things had changed.

We stopped on route to take a pic of the Cow’s favourite bird. I have to include one of these pics in this TR otherwise I will get a greasing.

Image

Stevenson-Hamilton can feel a little creepy at around 4:30pm with nobody around, so the rats decided to remain in the car, especially after I mentioned that I could definitely picture a leopard cruising around this place in the dark.

Just below Stevenson-Hamilton we found two Klippies hanging out on a rock. The thing that always amazes me about these guys is that they often look away from you and seem to hope that you will just disappear if they can’t see you.

After 5 frustrating minutes waiting for them to look at us, we gave up and moved on.

Image

Image

The word had spread about the 2 male lions and the buffalo kill, so the traffic jam had substantially increased in size; therefore we stopped at little distance away from the chaos.

The 1 male was still missing and the other guy was still sitting in the grass about 15m from the carcass

Image

Time was ticking as it was about 5:10pm now and my Garmin was starting to indicate that we had about 10 more minutes left before we had to move, but just as I was about to pull off the lion in the grass got up and walked over to the carcass, which caused major panic amongst the gang at the sighting. Cars were moving all over the place to try and get the best position of the carcass and tensions were rising.

The view was nothing to get excited about, so we snapped a few pics and headed back to camp for a braai.

Image

Shortly after 8pm the rats crashed and the Cow went to read her “never ending” book in bed, so I wrapped up in a blanket and did the usual “lights out” veranda/fence mission and as per usual fell asleep with a G&T in hand.

I woke to a strange sound, but due to the G&T overdose, didn’t click what was happening or where I was sitting until a strange face registered in my brain. A bush baby had arrived on our veranda wall and was looking at me, which gave me the fright of my life, so my wheel spinning cause the BB to spin in the other direction, but I was now wide awake, so sat in “ambush” with the camera for another hour, until I fell asleep again, but the BB never returned, well to my knowledge anyway.

The Cow gave me another fright about an hour later as I was summoned to bed.

To be continued

User avatar
Bushcraft
Committee Member
Posts: 13951
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 2:59 pm
Location: KZN, South Africa

Re: Brown's in Kruger April 2012

Post by Bushcraft » Tue May 22, 2012 8:01 pm

April 3rd Skukuza to Satara

Before I continue, we did find 8 rhino this day (2 groups of 4) and both sightings were in an area that we had never seen rhino before, which was strange, but due to these locations being obvious if described in the course of the drive, I have decided to omit them from the day’s events.

We had a long drive ahead of us today, so the car packing mission started early and we were out of camp just after 6am.

We could only book in at 2pm at Satara and we still didn’t have a leopard, so the plan was to head down to the S79 causeway, do the loop, head to Nkuhlu for a pitstop and a snack and then move on up towards Satara.

The initial 20 minutes were relatively quiet and then suddenly a lioness stepped into the road.

Image

She hung around few a few minutes looking at us and then pulled a tongue, followed by a view of her teeth.

Image

Image

The lioness then moved into the bush next to the road and started walking slowly in the same direction as what we were driving, so I slowly followed along. About 30 seconds later we spotted another lioness looking at us through the dense bush so stopped to take a few pics of her, but I was battling to focus in the bad light and through the dense bush, so we just sat back and watched them for a few minutes and then moved on to give others a view.

Next up were a few of the usual gang, then an attractive scavenger catching the morning sun and an elephant that would only give us a bum view.

Image

Image

Just before the causeway we found two scallywags relaxing in the road. These guys cleared our nostrils big time and the rats were all blaming each other for dropping one as they hadn’t realized that it was the hyena that stank.

Image

Image

We did our usual leopard tree loop along the causeway, but no leopard today, so continued along the dirt back towards Nkuhlu until we found a fisherman of different sorts at the little low level S79 Bridge.

This greedy guts had bitten off more than he could chew and gave us a show for 15 minutes. He kept dropping the flapping fish to stab it with his beak and then attempted to swallow it again.

Another car arrived and they wanted to cross the bridge so we had to move on.

Image

There was a troop of Vervet monkeys hanging around at Nkuhlu and the young ones were all playing which excited Bushpiggy and Albert so they were off with their little cameras to take pics.

Image

After breakfast we stocked up with drinks and started the long trek up to Satara.

To be continued

User avatar
Bushcraft
Committee Member
Posts: 13951
Joined: Sat May 19, 2012 2:59 pm
Location: KZN, South Africa

Re: Brown's in Kruger April 2012

Post by Bushcraft » Tue May 22, 2012 8:02 pm

April 3rd Skukuza to Satara continued

The section of the H1-2 between the H12 Bridge and Tshokwane has never been a very successful road for us, so I didn’t have high hopes, but it was only 9:30am, so we were still going to arrive at Satara too early; therefore decided to stop in and check out every little dam or pan along the way.

The first little detour was down to elephant waterhole, which produced a few Southern Ground Hornbills. We had spotted them a few times the day before, but not this close to the road, so we stopped for some pics.

Image

As we hit the H1-2 again I spotted something walking down the road towards us and it took my brain a few seconds to kick start “CAMERA, LEOPARD!!” The Cow started waving hands in the air “Where, where?” Things weren’t happening fast enough, so I again shouted “LEOPARD”.

The Cow has my 550D, with 2 lenses, our old FZ38, with my brothers Raynox 2X convertor and a video camera on her lap on all drives, so she’s snowed under with equipment and in a tense sighting like this there’s always chaos between us fighting for cameras, but eventually we got organized.

Image

Image

The leopard cruised from side to side up the road towards us, did some territory marking right next to our car and then cruised with a mission across the road in front of us to do some more marking on the other side of the road.

Image

Image

We followed along slowly for about 20m as she walked through the grass next to us, but suddenly she stopped, turned and gave us the hairy eyeball.

Image

Then she started to approach us, looking at me the entire time, so I gave up with the camera and started fiddling for the electric window controls, but Hawkeyes in the back seat kept snapping away with her camera and managed to get the pic below as the leopard approached.

Image

About 1m from the car she dropped her eyes, snuck around the front of us and into the long grass

Image

We followed the leopard for another 20 seconds and then it was gone.

A close up leopard sighting has been my personal favourite for many years now and they always get my adrenalin going, so my teeth were hanging out big time. The rest of the clan also know that I can get grumpy in KNP if we are battling for a leopard, so their teeth were also hanging out.

The next few km were fairly quiet until just before Leeupan where we found a few ellies having their midday chow. The Cow was extremely happy that they were a reasonable distance from the road.

Image

A few cars were stopped at the entrance to Leeupan and a few more further up the road, so we slowly approached and spotted this guy relaxing in the shade.

Image

This guy wasn’t going to move in a hurry, so after 5 minutes I started the car to check out why the other cars had stopped up the road, but as I pulled off, howling and then a cat fight, erupted in the back seat, which caught the Cow and I by surprise as things had been quiet in the back, so I stopped abruptly, which escalated the fight as they bumped into each another, but others at the sighting were now looking at us, so my gasket also went “QUIET!, or I will throw you out”, which only increasing the howling from Albert, so the Cow took over.

Thankfully this had no effect on the lion, which was now lying down.

Bushpiggy can be a terror and as it turns out hogged the window, so the others didn’t get a chance to take a pic, but because they are nervous of Bushpiggy, waited quietly for a turn, so when I pulled off Hawkeyes realized that she was going to lose out, hence attacked BP in temper and Albert got stuck in the middle of the cat fight.

The end result, much to my embarrassment and confusion of other people, was to reposition the car and let Hawkeyes and Albert take a picture.

Warnings were reissued and we moved on towards the other cars up the road where we found the second male having a snooze.

Image

To be continued

Return to “Travel Tales of Kruger National Park”