Friday, December 18, 2009

Kruger Park Safari with Lenore and Claudia Vitantonio 9 - 12 December 2009

It was the first visit to South Africa by Lenore and Claudia Vitantonio from Cleveland Ohio in the United States. We left Johannesburg taking a drive north east to Witbank and then turned eastwards to Nelspruit and on to the Kruger National Park, we entered through the Numbi Gate and made our way to the camp of Pretoriuskop. After booking in to the huts we had a break in order for Lenore and Claudia to get some lunch before leaving on a afternoon game drive. We left camp at 15h30 and made our way down the Napi road in the direction of Skukuza. Our forst animals encountered on the drive was two huge white rhinos grazing near the road. after a good viewing of them we proceeded down encountering elephant, kudu, Impala and warthogs on the afternoon drive. we got back to camp at about 18h15. After agood dinner, it was time for some sleep before the early start the next morning.

On the morning of the 10th December, we boarded the open safari vehicle at 05h00 and turned right back on the Napi road in order to make our way to Eloff Street and a breakfast stop at the Nkhulu picnic spot. 900 meters down the Napi road we came across 4 lionesses lying in the middle of the road sleeping, they were not at all disturbed by our presence and continued to sleep as we passed them in the bush aftwer being there for more than 45 minutes. We continued down Napi road getting good sightings of buffalo, elephant, rhino, kudu, impala and Zebra. At about 2 km's before the transport dame turn off i received a radio message of some lions lying near to Klipspringer Kopies, we decided to make our way down there. Upon arrival, we were the only car in the area, so the guests could get a good view of the pride of lions together with there cubs lying on the flat rock next to the road. At this stage the lions were only about 5 meters from our vehicle. after this fantastice sighting we were again called to the sighting of a giraffe kill about 1 meter of the road on the S114, upon arrival we narrowly missed the lions, but were treated to a sighting of six Hyenas and about 200 vultures that had tucked in to the kill to get there fill. After quite a protracted sighting, we had to make our way to Skukuza instead for breakfast as time had got away from us and all the animals that had been seen. After breakfast things started to quieten down as the weather got a bit cold. We decided to make our way back to camp for a rest before continuing out again in the afternoon.
At 15h30 we left camp, only to get a radio message from one of the other safari companies that there was a pride of 21 lions next to the natural pan about 2,2 km's past the Napi Bolders exit, we decided to go and look for them, after a fifteen minute drive to the area, we came to the area and found them all lying on a rock next to the water looking in a southerly direction at some buffalo. While we were watching the large pride of lions, we noticed a breeding herd of elephants crossing the road behind our vehicle in the direction of the lions. This was only temporary, as the elephants soon made of in a southerly direction after smelling the lions. All in high spirits we decided to make our way back to camp taking some of the back roots. On the way back, we had good sightings of Kudum, Impala, White Rhino and more elephants grazing in the open area next to the Shithavie waterhole.

On the 11th we left camp early again at 05h00 and made our way down the Napi road to see what was going on, after an initially quite start to the mornings game viewing, we decided to make a turn at the Giraffe kill on the S114. I decided to drive down to Kwagga Pan and then take the S112 coming out on the S114 which was the road that the Kill was on. After turning onto the S112, we came across some Elephant, Wildebeest, Impala and some hyena.While on S112 we got a call of a male lion walking in the road on the S23, we decided to investigate. Upon arrival we found this huge male lion walking towards us. After turning around, we managed to follow him for another 500 meters while he was busy marking his territory. After he moved off, we made our way back to the S114. After turning right en-route to Skukuza we found one of the lions lying right next to the road busy sleeping. After getting some good photos, we moved onto the kill, to find a hyena busy eating on the kill with a huge amount of vultures around him, some good photo opportunities were enjoyed.We got a call on the radio from one of our open vehicles further up the road that they had the lions from the kill busy walking on the road in front of them. We decided to investigate, but by the time we got there, they were lying about three meters of the road on the left hand side. Good photos were enjoyed by everyone. After this sighting we made our way for breakfast. After breakfast was enjoyed, we made our way to the doispane road looking for a good leopard sighting. This was unfortunately not to be, as we had a quite trip back to camp with good sightings of general game as well as a good sighting of some hyensa pups outside their den next to the road. The afternoon game drive was pretty much the same with good sightings of general game, Elephants, buffalo and rhino being seen.

On the morning of the 12th, we left camp a little later as Lenore and Claudia were finding it difficult going, getting up so early, we made our way down to the S112 and the S114 to have a final view of the giraffe and see if we could see the lions again. This time we found one of the young males next to the road and a bit further up, we found the rest of the pride sleeping off all of the meat thet they had eaten during the past three days.
We made our way back to camp for breakfast and to get cleaned up for the trip back to Johannesburg. After breakfast, we left the camp of Pretoriuskop and made our way to the gate and then onto Johannesburg.
Both Lenore and Claudia said that they thoroughly enjoyed their Kruger Park Safari and would love to return again to do another one.

For More info on our Kruger Park Safaris, please visit us at www.nhongosafaris.co.za or www.nhongosafaris.com


Large lion Pride near the natural pan on Napi Road

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Kruger National Park Safari with Erwin Doornspleet from the 29th - 2nd December 2009

Hi There to all from the Kruger National Park,

This is a report received from one of our guides Mark while on safari in the Kruger National
Park with Erwin doorenspleet from the 29th November to the 2nd December 2009.

Now this had to be a wacka of a trip as the first animal we came across on
entering the Kruger Park was a massive White Rino bull. This chap was big
and I estimate him at approximately 1.8 Ton easily. Massive main horn, honed
to perfection. Rather placid while the vehicle was next to him, approximately
3 - 5m away from us on the left hand side. We proceeded to Pretoriuskop to
have a quick bite to eat and to book in to the rest camp for the duration of our stay.

As you know me, I couldn't wait to get back into the bush. Fortunately as it
was my guests first day in the Kruger, they to were happy to get out there.
After a quick bite to eat we left Pretoriuskop camp, my route planned for the
afternoon was Shebeni Koppies, Albesini north to doispan Road East to River Rd
Link. Turn around and follow exactly the same route back. Later this worked in
our favor as by the time we got back to camp many animal species were seen.
On the Doispan road 1,8kms before the River link road at approx 16h15 we got sight
of a female Leopard lying in an African wattle tree facing eastwards.
Typical postcard photo). further on down the road a herd (20 plus) of elephants
crossing from south to east.
Back to Albasini, we found a herd of buffalo crossing over towards Mestal dam.
It felt good to be in the park and within 2.5 hrs we had see 4 of the "big 5".
With this in mind it was time to head back to camp.

As you all know, early rise with a cup of coffee we left camp heading North.
My idea was to head along the main road between Pretoriuskop and Skakuza.
Something that stood out for me, was our sighting of 2 Sable antelope approximately
10 - 15m off the road facing us (What a sight as I thought back to when last
I saw one so close.) We continued North and approx 1kilometer from Matekanyane
view point we had a sighting of a Black Rino bull moving eastwards.
Approx 2.2kms past the H3 junction which goes down to the Malalane gate, we spotted
2 Female Lion sleeping in the open. Not the best sighting as I would estimate them
to be approx 30m of the road. As we crossed over the Sand River, I decided to take
the Marula Loop road and 500m down came across 2 humongous black mained male Lions.
Both were lying on the edge of the road and brilliant photos were taken.
Up to the Tshokwane picnic spot we saw lots of general game and fabulous amounts of
birds were encountered. After eating a brunch (very late breakfast - due to the
amount of animal sightings we had enjoyed) we moved Eastwards on the H10 to Lower
Sabie. While on this road a number of good sightings were encountered of rhino,
buffalo, elephant and general game.
At the junction to Mlondozi Dam off the H10, we came across a pair of mating Lions.
Good to see nature is still on the go and the Lion is still king.
Looking up into the east, I could see a cloud build up and decided to head back
to Pretoriuskop. After a visit to the camp of Lower Sabie, we made our way back to
Skukuza, stopping off at various sightings of elephant and buffalo as well as
general game along the way. After a short stop at the camp of Skukuza, we made our
way back to camp for the night and the potential of some heavy rain.

The night sounded like a battle field in the sky's as the thunder roared. This was
confirmed the next day with little animal movement and sightings. What also played
a major role was the sudden drop in temperatures. Even the new Impala lambs where
aware of the change in weather.
We decided that we would take advantage of the weather and visited many different
historical sites  during the course of the day. Always enjoying the general game
viewing as we spent our time in the African bushveld.

The night was cold and the next morning after our last game drive before leaving
the park, we had breakfast at Pretoriukop. On leaving the park its always
interesting to see what is the last specie of animal is, to come out and say
goodbye. Strange to this we had a sighting of 8 Sable antelope,
wishing our guests

" Goodnight, God bless and Goodbye".

Till next time and we meet again,

Mark
Senior Guide Nhongo Safaris

Friday, November 27, 2009

Kruger National Park Safari with Savonne Caughey and Alexis Taylor 23 - 26 November 2009

Savonne and Alexis joined us on a safari to the Kruger National Park as it was there first visit to the continent of Africa. After arriving at the Kruger National Park after a pleasent drive from Johannesburg, the girls were booked into there accommodation in Pretoriuskop rest camp. We departed on our first game drive of the safari at 15h30. Just outside of the camp we came across a heard of kudu busy browsing on the new foliage that had become quite dense after the prior week of rain in the area. We carried on with our drive coming across a huge bull elephant in the road. We decided to wait and see if he would pass close by to us without any problems, but this was not to be as we had to soon take evasive action as he proceeded to mock charge us in order to get us out of the way. After a few short breaths from the girls, order was restored and we went on our way coming across a hyena den next to the Napi road with a juvenile hyena lying outside for some good photos. We also got to see it's mother that was lying close by.
The morning of the 24th saw us leaving camp at 05h00 after having tea and coffee and making our way down the Napi road in the direction of Skukuza. On the early morning drive we had good sightings of Elephant and rhino as well as lots of sightings of general game such as zebra, kudu, impala, wildebeest and warthog.
We made our way to Nkhulu picnic spot for breakfast and after a welcome break we proceeded down what is known as Eloff street to the camp of Lower Sabie. On the way to lower Sabie we had good sightings of elephant, buffalo, baboons, bushbuck and hippo in the sabie river. We stopped off at sunset dam to watch the four large pods of hippos as well as spoon billed storkes and some large crocodiles. After visiting the camp of Lowe Sabie we decided to start making our way back to Pretoriuskop in order for the girls to have a rest as the tempretures in the park have climbed significantly since the start of the rainy season. On route we came across a pride of lions lying close to the road. They were very uninterested in us as the temperatures had already started to climb and they just wanted to have a sleep, something lions do quite often and very well.
After a welcome rest we decided to take a drive to Shebeni Kopies to look for the pride of lions in the area of the koppies. Our search was abruptly brought to an end when we received a call of a leopard sighting some 10 Km's down the Napi road. We decided to try our luck and see if we couls see this guy. We drove down to the sighting of the leopard that had just killed a Banded Mongoose and lying in the shade. We made our way back in the direction of Pretoriuskop coming upon a sighting of nine Rhino's with a four month old calf. We carried on with our drive in the direction of the camp only to have us find more lions very close to the camp of Pretoriuskop at around 18h10. We proceeded to watch these lions before having to leave them there to get back to the camp before the gates closed.
On the morning of the 25th, the day started pretty much the same as the day before making our way for the picnic spot of Tshokwane for breakfast. While on route we encountered good sightings of elephant, buffalo and general game. After a welcome stop for breakfast we decided to take a drive down the H10 towards lower sabie, about 13Km's down the H10 we came across a large heard of Zebra and Wildebeest, upon closer investigation we saw that both of the herds were acting very strangely and all looking in the same direction. After a while the herds started running in our direction, we suddenly saw that there were two cheetahs walking in our direction right behind were the two herds of Zebra ans Wildebeest had been. we watched the two cheetahs make there way towards us and then started walking towards the junction of the S128. When they reached the junction, the cheetahs decided to mark there territory by climbing onto the road marker, the two girls aboard our open vehicle managed to get some really good photos as we were stsnding right next to them while they were doing this.
After we had finished at the sighting we carried on our way getting good sightings of Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino before reaching the camp of Lower Sabie.
After a break we made our way back to the camp of Pretoriuskop as the girls were going on a night drive that evening.
While on the night drive Savonne and Alexis managed to get good sightings of general game as well as two different sightings of lion close to the vehicle.
After breakfast on the 26th we took our leave of the camp of Pretoriuskop and the Kruger National Park and made our way up the Panorama route were we visited Gods Window, Berlin Falls and the Three Rondavels.

Both guests really enjoyed themselves and are hoping to return to South Africa if they win a competition running in the USA for tickets to the 2010 Football world Cup in June next year.

For more info on our safaris, please visit our Nhongo Safaris Website
For more info on our 4 Day Budget Safari, please visit our 4 Day Budget safari itinerary 

Saturday, November 7, 2009

World renowned game park steps up the fight against poaching

With the appointment of 57 new Field Rangers, the world renowned Kruger National Park (KNP) has stepped up the crime fighting ability against the brutal poaching of animals.
This according to South African National Parks, Chief Executive, Dr David Mabunda, who said the new recruits, will be adopting a multi-disciplinary approach and will draw on the skills and expertise of various law enforcement agency involved in the fight against poaching of South Africa’s fauna and flora. “We as a conservation agency and the public at large are paying a high price with these senseless killings of our animals, while some leader of a syndicate is winning the minds and hearts of ordinary and poor members of society to be on the frontline of these evil operations.”
Dr Mabunda was speaking at the Pass-Out Parade of 57 new Field Rangers held in Skukuza this morning. He said we want to send a stern warning on these criminals that their days are numbered. “We are on their trail and closing up quickly on them.”
He said the country continues to lose some of its precious animals in the hands of poachers; animals such as rhinos are highly on demand on the poachers radar screen. “Since the beginning of the year the country in general has lost a total of 94 rhinos, In which 38 was lost in KNP, 7 in Gauteng, 9 in Limpopo, 5 in Mpumalanga, 10 in North West, 4 in Eastern Cape and 21 in KwaZulu-Natal.”
However, the loss of animal lives has not been in vain as to date 22 poachers have been arrested by SANParks rangers and are appearing before various courts in the country, said Dr Mabunda. “Our cross-border operations which include patrols with members of the South African Police Services, and our counterparts in Mozambique have yielded huge successes.
The parade was inspected by SANParks top rangers, Dr Mabunda and high ranking officials of the SAPS and SANDF border patrol units. According to Dr Mabunda a total of R5.2 million has been invested in the fight against poachers. “The funds allocated have been used to acquire amongst others motorbikes, bicycles, a bantam aircraft, to be used in patrols and high tech night vigil surveillance equipment…“we want to own the night as well, as these senseless fugitives tend to focus their operations at night.”
He said this is the fight we are planning to win; Mabunda also applauded the Environmental Affairs Minister and her provincial counterparts for their pro-active discussion around a possible establishment of a national unit or strategy that will deal with the scourge of environmental crimes including poaching in national, provincial as well as in private lands.
Dr Mabunda also welcomed the decision by the South African government to return the military to patrol the 450km national border on the eastern boundary of the KNP as the exit of the military three years ago had created even more pressure on the work of the rangers. “Discussions with the military are already at an advance stage and an announcement will be made soon on the reintroduction of their patrols in the borders of KNP.
In conclusion, Dr Mabunda wished all the new recruits well in their work and encouraged them to work with honor as they carry out their tasks in this fight. “We must let the poachers know that we will seek them out, we will find them and they will be dealt with accordingly. This is a war that we plan on winning,” he warned.

For more info on our Kruger Park safaris, please visit our kruger Park Safaris Website

Monday, November 2, 2009

Letter received from Seppo and Tuulikki Murto from Finland on their safari to the Kruger National Park

Dear Verity, Dean and Mark,


Many thanks to you and, of course and especially, to Mark and Dean for a superbly arranged and conducted safari.
It was a great and rewarding experiance into the African Wild Life. We wish you all the best and further success with your safaris.

Kind Regards
Seppo and Tuulikki

Kruger Park safari with Asaf Kwaja, Linda Lee and Alexandra Cabral 28th - 30th October 2009

The 28th afternoon drive saw sightings of Cheetah, elephant and buffalo close to the vehicle and within a radius of 10km's from the camp. On leaving the camp the following morning the clients got a good sighting of leopard on a rock near the Shabeni Kopie area on the S7 road. The leopard was only a few meters from the vehicle. Further along the road we turned onto the S3 and about 5km's down got the same cheetah as the day before, but this time it was walking in the road ahead of the vehicle. We continued down the S3 and turned onto the S1 encountering good sightings of elephant and general game.

After a stop for breakfast, we left Skukuza and made our way onto Eloff Street ( H4-1) were only 3km's down the clients got there first sightings of lion in the the Sabie river bed. The game drive carried on with sightings of elephant, buffalo, rhino as well as general game being encountered on a regular basis. The day was cold and rainy with the first big rains being experienced by all. Clients got back to camp in the mid afternoon wet and cold for a short break before climbing back onto the open vehicle for a night drive. Sightings on the night drive started with a good sighting of lion prior to it getting dark and was then followed up with sightings of elepbhant and buffalo. 

On the final morning of safari we left camp at 06h00 and made our way to Shabeni kopies looking for lions, we got a large herd of buffalo on route with a size estimation of around 600 animals, shortly after that we got a good close sighting of elephant on the Shabeni loop before making our way to Manughu Kopie. Upon closer inspection we found a fvemale lion on top of the kopie sitting and checking out the scene, she was seen to be carrying large amounts of milk, so it is thought that she has cubs in the area of the Kopie.
The drive continued with other sightings of general game as well as elephant and buffalo being encountered.

Clients feedback was that they enjoyed themselves and would be returning for another visit, but just longer the next time. Alexandra is also going to return, but this time with his wife that could not accompany him on this trip.

For more information on our Kruger Park safaris please visit our Kruger Park Safari Website
For more information on our 3 Day Kruger Park Safari, please visit our 3 Day Kruger Park Safari Itinerary



 

Letter received from Alan Rumary that was on safari with us from the 6th - 9th July 2009

Hi Dean & Verity 

Now that I'm safe back home in the UK I thought I'd drop you a short note to say thanks. I cannot tell you just how much I enjoyed the trip and Dean's company. I think that you are one of the most professional companies I have ever experienced - nothing too much trouble, you do what you say you are going to do and when AND you really look after your guests well. Not only was all the info on the animals really interesting it was also very intriguing to find out what the "cultural" climate of SA is like from the inside. 

Many, many thanks. Hope to see you again some time in the future.
I will pass on your name to friends and colleagues who may visit SA too!

Kind Regards
Alan Rumary





Letter received from Carita Neethling of Life Church (Cape Town)

Hi Dean, Verity and Mark

Chatted to the team and they LOVED the safari. They said you were the best hosts and they enjoyed every moment of it! Thank you so much for the good job that you did! You really blessed not only the team, but also me. It makes my life so much easier knowing that people like you are taking my team around and spoiling them.

I am looking forward to doing business with you in the future!

God Bless


Regards
Carita Neethling


Letter received from Justin and Michelle Leegsma who were on safari to the Kruger National Park with us.

Hey Dean and Verity,

Thanks for another absolutely incredible time! As always it was everything I had hoped for and better. Those picnic spots were so great. Looking forward to the next one.

All the best, see you next year

Kind Regards
Michelle and Justin Leegsma



Letter received from Katie Krivan who was on safari with us from the 12th - 15th August 2009

Dear Dean, Verity and Mark

I would like to thank you for the wonderful 4 days safari I had. Being so personal made it a much more memorable experience and I had heaps of fun.
No amount of questions was too much trouble to answer. And you seemed to know everything! I enjoyed all the animal stories and learning more about Johannesburg too. I will be recommending you to everyone I know!


I have attached some photos I thought you might like, including one of Mark holding rhino dung!! I wish you the best for the future and I'm sure your business will grow fast due to all the positive feedback.


I hope to see you both again soon!

Kind regards,
Katie Krivan 






Letter received from David Van Buskirk that was on safari to the Kruger National Park from the 26th - 30th July 2009

Dear Dean, Verity and Mark,


Thanks again for a great time in Kruger. It exceeded my expectations by far.
The animals were fantastic. I managed to get some great photos. Let me know when you are in Texas. Send my regards to Mark. 

Take care!

Regards
David Van buskirk 



Letter received from Sue and Di from Tazmania in Australia that were on safari with us

Dear Verity, 


Just a short note to thank you, Dean and Mark for an unforgettable experience that was our 6 day safari in Kruger National Park, in early March.
Di and I thoroughly enjoyed our time with Mark, and found him to be an informative, interesting and entertaining guide. We saw the "big five", and every day was a new experience. I would highly recomend this safari to anyone wanting a reasonably priced but top quality tour. 


Please say hello to Mark for us, and thank him for being such a professional and helpful guide.
Thanks again to you and Dean for operating such an efficient company, and please feel free to use any of our comments in any promotional material. 


Cheers, 
Sue and Di

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Kruger Park Safari with Sabine Korte 21 - 24 October 2009

Sabine conducted a 4 Day Budget Kruger Park Safari with us leaving from johannesburg. Upon arriving at the Kruger National Park we started our first game drive at 15h30 on the afternoon of the 21st, the game drive delivered sightings of general game and large herds of elephant. On the second morning we left camp at 06h00 and made our way deeper into the park enjoying sightings of general game, elephant and a black rhino. After breakfast we carried on with our game drive finding our first sightings of lion and cape buffalo. We made our way to skukuza for lunch and a deserved break. After lunch we took a drive down the S1 (Doispane Road) and at about 14h30 at a distance of 7,1 Km's from the intersection of the S4 we came upon a sighting of a female lion and her 2 cubs, only to find a male lion also present with a snare around the neck. Dean informed the ranger from the area and the veterinary services who proceeded to come to the scene and look for the male in order to dart him to remove the snare. The task at hand proved to be harder than anticipated and we had to leave the scene in order to get back to camp in time before the gates closed. We were informed later that the authorities had successfully darted the lion and removed the snare.

The morning of the
23rd we left camp a little earlier and after good sightings of white rhino. After a short distance we came across a sighting of lions, one male lion with two lionesses at the Deleport water hole. The lions were quite relaxed showing little interest in the tourist presence around them. we continued conducting game drives for the duration of the day getting good sightings of elephant, buffalo, hippos, crocodiles, zebra and wildebeest. Upon our return journey to camp, we came upon a sighting of Sable antelope, these sable are seldom seeing in the park due to there low numbers in the region.

Our last morning game drive was spent around the camp of Pretoriuskop seen large herds of Zebra, Rhino and also seen our first impala lambs of the summer season that had just been born.
All in all this was a memorable safari for Sabine who wants to return to go and do some volunteer work at the Moholoholo wildlife centre in the near future.

For more info on our safaris to the Kruger national Park, please visit our Kruger Park Safaris website 

For more info on our 4 Day Budget Kruger Park Safari, please visit our 4 Day Budget Kruger Park Safari Itinerary

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Photos taken by Kyle Olsen while on safari in the Kruger National Park


Two Photos from a Lion sighting with Nhongo Safaris at klipspringer Kopies

For more info on our Kruger Park safaris, please visit our Nhongo Safaris website

Photos taken by Kyle Olsen while on safari in the Kruger National Park


Two photos of a leopard taken while on safari with Nhongo Safaris.

For more info on our Kruger Park safaris, please visit our Nhongo Safaris website

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ricardo Martin and Paul Coopers Safari to the kruger National Park 10 - 13 October 2009


Game Viewing on this safari was excellent, from the first day lion sightings were encountered on a regular basis. On the first morning out of camp lions were found on the Napi road just a short distance from the camp. We had our first sighting of Sable moving back towards the camp. After breakfast we decided to take a drive down to the camp of Lower Sabie and en route found our first leopard in a tree. We continued down the road stopping a various sightings of Elephant and Buffalo and stopping off at Sunset dam. After a break at the camp we made our way onto the H10 and came across our second leopard with a kill under a fallen Leadwood tree. We continued on with our drive stopping off at many different sightings. Upon arrival at Siloweni dame we found a heard of about 800 buffalo crossing the road to drink at the dam. We continued with our drive stopping off for lunch at Skukuza. After lunch we started making our way slowly back to camp, only to find a third leopard for the day walking in the drainage line close to transport dam. The following day was pretty much like the first, going from one sighting to the next with various sightings of lion, Elephant, Buffalo etc.
After breakfast we were called over the radio and told about a leopard close to the camp of Skukuza in a Jackalberry tree, we decided to make our way in that direction. We got to the sighting to find the leopard sitting up looking at some Impala close by. After this sighting we decided to take a drive back up to Siloweni Dam to find the buffalo as we were sure that they would stay close to the dam. En route to the dame we came across two male lions and one lioness lying close to the bridge in the cool of the morning After arriving at the dam we were treated to a sighting of around 800 buffalo, two herds of Elephant and a pod of hippos close to our vehicle all utilising the dame to cool down.
On the final morning of the safari we left camp for our final game drive, only to have two male lions in the road not a 100 metres from the camp. The guests on the vehicle really got some close shots of these two wonderful male lions. The morning also produced some sightings of Elephant, Buffalo, Zebra, kudu and Rhino

All in all the guests had a wonderful time and expressed a willingness to return In the near future to visit the Kruger National Park again.

For more info on or Kruger Park safaris, please visit our Kruger Park Safari website 

For more info on our 4 Day Kruger Park Safari, please visit our 4 Day Kruger Park Safari Itinerary

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kruger Park Safari with kyle Olsen and Andy Green 2 - 6 October 2009


Nhongo Safaris had the pleasure of hosting Kyle Olsen from the FAA in the United States and Andy Green from the UK on safari to the Kruger National Park from the 2nd to the 6th of October 2009.

Game viewing has moved up a notch due to the dry conditions being experienced in the Kruger National Park over the months of October and November. Regular sighting of lion, elephant, buffalo and rhino were enjoyed by all. the highlight of the safari was when Dean found a female leopard and her two cubs near the main road between Skukuza ans Lower Sabie who had just killed and Impala and were starting to eat it. Unfortunately there was high numbers of local visitors to the park, so the sighting grew rapidly in size.

The female leopard and her cubs were quite unperturbed by all of the traffic and just carried on eating as if nothing had happened.

The following day, we proceeded to return to the area, where we managed to get more good photos of the cubs and mother while they proceeded to finish the kill off.

On the last morning we took a drive down to Kwagga Pan on the main H3 road to the Malelane gate, only to come upon two young male lions being chased by two very dominant older lions in a territorial battle. This proceeded to play its self out over a period of about 45 minutes, with the victorious dominant males being the winners and successfully chasing the two young males away from the re territory.

All in all this was a wonderful safari for everybody, with the highlight being the leopard and fighting male lion sightings.

We at Nhongo Safaris are greatfull to have given Kyle a wonderful safari, as it was his second safari with us and has expressed a willingness to bring his wife with him on the next safari when on business to South Africa

For more info on our Kruger Park Safaris, please visit our Kruger Park Safaris website 

For more info on our 5 Day Kruger Park Safari, please visit our 5 Day Kruger Park Safari Itinerary

The Critchfield Family visit to the Kruger National Park 26th – 29th September 2009



The Critchfield family while on safari stayed in the camps of Satara and Olifants, thease camps are situated in the central and northern sectors of the park. Sightings were generally good with many different sightings of Elephant, Giraffe, Buffalo, Zebra, Wildebeest as well as sightings of Hyena, Crocodiles, Baboon etc. The Critchfield family also experianced wonderful sightings on two leopards on impala killstogether with there cubs, as well as sightings on a kill really close to the H1 road btween Satars and Tshokwane picnic spot. The Critchfields came to Africa from the United States as a family, below is a letter received from them upon there return to the Unioted States from South Africa.


Dear Dean, Mark and Verity,


On behalf of the six members of my family who were on safari hosted you on the 26/09/2009 through 29/09/2009, i want to thank you for a memorable experiance. We trully had a good time, and we got some great photos of animals and the scenery as well. We have hundreds of photos to keep our memories sharp for a lifetime.
Mark was a great guide as he mixed in humour with his expertise regarding the park. Our consecutive sightings of a leopard and its impala kill, two female lions and their zebra kill, and another leopard with its cub and impala kill and another male and female lion were very exciting. These sightings all happened within thirty minutes of one another....
We had seen the big 5, plus sightings of hyena, crocodiles, a mother baboon holding her baby, a chemeleon (at night), and ostriches, including on with 10 chicks. We saw jackal during the day time which was unusual since it normally is a nocturnal animal. The scenic views along the rivers were awsome in their beauty with the elephants and crocodiles matched against there natural backgrounds. Dean, I had extreme pleasure discussing your country and the worlds problem spots in route from the park to Johannesburg airport. My family thought your were humorous too. Many thanks for getting us safely and on time for our flight. May your son have the best time and experiance in the USA! Mark i offer you my thanks to you for gettin g me to a safe haven with my stomach cramps. You would make a great emergency driver. Kruger National Park is an amazing place to visit, your country should be proud of it. I would recommend it to anyone in the world.
If i return to Kruger, i will seek you as my host


In Christian love from the USA (Pennsylvania)


Critchfield Family -- Richard, JoAnn, Becky, Jim, Susie and Sascha 


For more information on our Kruger Park Safaris, please visit our Kruger Park Safaris Website










Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What to take while on safari in the Kruger National Park

The essential thing to remember is to travel light!
Be certain to have with you:

* Valid pa
ssport

* Valid visa - if required

* One other picture identification (e.g. driver's licence)

* Photocopy of passpor
t page to carry in wallet

* Air tickets

* Expense mon
ey

* Comprehensive Travel Insurance Policy


Dressing for Safaris

On safari, most people wear shorts and a T-shirt during the day and put on long sleeved shirts and long pants in the evening for warmth as well as protection from mosquitoes. Should you be particularly sensitive to the sun a loose cotton shirt is essential during the day. Khaki, brown, olive and beige colours are best for and safaris and game walks.

White is not a suitable colour for these activities, as it increases your visibility to wildlife you want to get a closer look at and it will get dirty very quickly. Fleece or sweater and a windbreaker for game drives, because it is highly possible that you may go out on a hot day, but be faced with a chill evening on your return. Remember that layering your clothing will keep you warmer than relying on one thick item.


Clothing to Pack for Safaris:



* 2 pairs khaki cotton pants

* 2 pairs khaki shorts

* 2 long sleeved shirts/ blouses (for sun protection as well as warmth)

* 1 light sweater or sweatshirt

* 1 lightweight, waterproof windbreaker

* Swimming costume

* Sturdy walking or hiking boots

* Sandals

* 3-5 short-sleeved shirts or T-shirts

* 5 changes underwear and socks

* Hat with a brim (baseball caps might cover your nose but not your ears and neck)

* Gloves (if you really feel the cold)

* Down vest or jacket (if you really feel the cold)

* A sarong or kikoi type garment


Most lodges and safari camps offer laundry as part of their service. Hotels all offer laundry, at additional cost.

Essentials:


* Toilet kit including shampoo and soap

* Insect repellent

* Good quality sunglasses plus protective case

* Hand wipes or 'Baby wipes'

* Stuff-sacks or plastic packets; to compartmentalise items within your travel bag

* Repair kit: needle and thread, nylon cord, rip-stop tape

* Camera, fi
lm or memory card

* Spare batteries. Film and batteries can generally be obtained at lodges, but at a price of course, so please be sure to have sufficient supplies for your needs

* Binoculars

* Paperback reading, writing material (keep weight at a minimum)

* Sunscreen or block

* Moisturizer, lip balm

* Personal first-aid kit (headache pills, antihistamine cream etc)

* Large towel and washcloth (thin, quick-drying) - if required for camping/overland safari


If you take prescription medication, be sure to bring a sufficient supply with you. If you are on a lengthy holiday, we suggest that you carry a copy of your prescription with you.

Luggage for a Mobile Safari:

For Safari travel, the best type of luggage to bring is a soft bag, or backpack with an internal frame. As packing space in Safari vehicles is limited, only one bag is allowed, but you should also have a daypack for all of your personal items/camera/binoculars. Hard suitcases are usually scuffed or damaged in transit and are inappropriate for a game safari.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Guides And Guests Called Into Help snared Male Lion

The Photo in this article have been taken by one of our clients Lauren Mcquillan
while Mark our senior guide was working on the male lion.




Location: Kruger National Park


Road: 1.3kms from junction River rd on S4 (Gravel Road) Time: 11h15


Beautiful 2 male Lion sighting approximately 5 – 7m off the road left hand side. Both having a mid-day snooze, when suddenly I realized that 1 of the male Lions had a snare around the neck. Judging on what I could see, this snare must have been around the neck for approximately 4 days. This snare was not attached to anything and must have broken loose when the Lion was caught in it and therefore was literally a very tight necklace. Although the wire had cut deeply, it didn’t seem to hinder the Lions breathing as he lay there. This obviously needed some intervention from our side, so veterinary was called in. Fortunately while waiting for them (veterinary) to arrive, both males just carried on doing what they do well and that’s sleep.

Once they arrived, the problem male was darted and as soon as it went down we then moved in with caution (other male out there somewhere) to carry it out of the bush onto the road. Extra hands (some of our guests) were called in to assist in moving this heavy beast into a better area. The entire operation took approximately 1hr and in this time valuable information was recorded, blood samples drawn, photo identification and snare was removed, wound disinfected and a couple of stitches administered. Once all completed the Lion was moved off the road into a place where it could recover. Unfortunately at this time we had to leave for camp as other guests needed to be picked up for a late afternoon game drive.

Word got out about the happenings on the road and during the course of the afternoon, the Lion was monitored closely. Feedback from other guides on the sighting saw the two male Lions join up again and move off into the bush at approximately 5pm.


Glad to help you Kitty Cat


Regards

Mark

Senior Guide Nhongo Safaris














The development of tourism to the Kruger National Park in the early days


The Development of Tourism


At the time of their proclamation, both the Sabie and Shingwedzi reserves were very poorly developed.
Only in 1916 with the appointment of the Game Reserves Commission under chairmanship of JF Ludorf, the possibility of tourism was raised for the first time in the official report of 1918. This commission, which also placed significant emphasis on the possible merging of the two reserves and to proclaim it as a national park, made it clear that the primary objective of the two reserves was the conservation of nature. The development of tourism facilities could also be considered as it would not necessarily be in conflict with the primary objective. As motivation for this point of view, emphasis was placed on the educational and research opportunities that the reserves offered, and in this respect especially the opportunity that the general public would be offered to see nature in its pristine state.


The First Tourists


Initially, nothing came of these recommendations, and it was only in 1923, when the South African Railways (SAR) implemented a tour to the Lowveld and bordering Maputo (then Lourenco Marques) in Mocambique, that the potential of the reserves as tourist attraction was again discussed. An overnight stop in the Sabie Reserve at the Sabie Bridge (now Skukuza) was only included in the itinerary from a convenience point of view and not because it was felt that the game would offer an attraction. It required much motivation from Stevenson-Hamilton to convince the Commissioner for Railways that the inclusion of a day excursion through the Sabie Reserve would enhance the attraction of the so-called “round-in-nine” railway excursion.
Stevenson-Hamilton’s pleas resulted in the excursion were scheduled so that the trains would travel from Komatipoort to Sabie Bridge during daylight hours. Stevenson-Hamilton arranged that a game ranger would accompany the tourists on this leg of the excursion and also overnight with them at Sabie Bridge. At Sabie Bridge there were no facilities for tourists and they slept on the train. The game ranger would brighten up the evening around large campfires while sharing interesting anecdotes with them. This arrangement was apparently very successful and it was very popular with the tourists.
At the time of the proclamation of the Kruger National Park in 1926, the idea of tourism was already established. During the first board meeting of 16 September 1926, the value of tourism as a source of revenue was also recognized. To promote tourism while simultaneously earning revenue, it was decided that a main road, with various secondary roads for game viewing would be built. The idea was that guides would be appointed to accompany the tourist, for which a fee would be payable. It was also decided that a fee would be charged for the taking of photographs. A third source of revenue would be the writing of articles which would be either offered for sale of would serve to attract foreign tourists.
The lack of accommodation facilities in the park created a significant problem. Early in 1927, the South African Railways (SAR) approached the board with the request to erect quarters and to rent it to them (SAR). Nothing came of this scheme, and in the same year, the board, through the mediation of Stevenson-Hamilton, reached agreement with the SAR to work on a joint strategy for the development of the tourism industry. The board accordingly agreed to the building of roads, rest huts and other facilities, provision of guides and protection services and to refrain from promoting independent traffic. The SAR, in exchange, undertook to provide all transport, by rail and road and to launch advertising campaigns, catering services and to pay the board a percentage of the income received.

To initiate this scheme, four two-track roads were initially provided; from Crocodile Bridge to Lower Sabie (built by CR de la Porte), from Acornhoek to the Mocambique border (via Satara), from Gravelote to Makubas Kraal (near Letaba) (latter two were built by TEBA) and White River to Pretoriuskop.


In August 1927 the board decided to open the Pretoriuskop area for tourists. This concession would however require that prospective tourists first needed to acquire a permit (which could be obtained from the secretary of the board in Pretoria, the warden at Skukuza or the game ranger at Pretoriuskop stationed at Mtimba or from White River) and tourists needed to return on the same day as no overnight facilities were provided and that only revolvers would be carried for personal protection.
The arrangement to acquire permits was confusing for many visitors and they often passed Mtimba (Post of Ranger Wolhuter) without reporting. In 1929 the Board appointed A Moodie as agent at Moodies Kloof to issue permits until 1931, when a full-time gate official, Captain M Rowland-Jones, could be appointed at Numbi Gate.
By the end of 1927 various additional proposals were considered or made by the Board in order to increase tourism traffic. The Board rejected a proposal from the SAR to build a hotel at Sabi Bridge regarding it as “unpractical”. A proposal was also presented by the SAR for the provision of suitable vehicle crossings over the Crocodile River. In turn the Board requested the SAR to open the railway bridges over the Crocodile, Sabie and Olifants Rivers for motor vehicles, to make the train service on the Selati Railway more convenient for tourists and officials of the Board, and to accept responsibility for the building of a road from Crocodile Bridge to Satara and Acornhoek.


The First Tourist Facilities


It was only in 1928 that the provision of amenities for tourists commenced with sincerity. The first three so-called “rest huts” were built at Satara, Pretoriuskop and Skukuza (then still known as Reserve or Sabie Bridge). Simultaneously, six additional huts were also planned. These huts, or rest huts, each consisted of a set of huts or rooms with a carport. Of the six planned additional huts, nothing came of it, but in 1929 two rondavels with a radius of six metres and ten with a radius of a little more than four metres, were erected at Skukuza and two additional rondavels were built at Satara. Rest camps of the size of Skukuza were envisaged for Pretoriuskop, Satara and Letaba. Two smaller rest camps with six rondavels each were planned for Balule (then still known as Olifants Camp) and Olifants Poort (better known as Gorge) near the confluence of the Olifants and Letaba.
Construction on the rest camp at Olifants Poort already commenced in 1929. The activities were continued in all sincerity in 1930 and besides the two additional rondavels in Skukuza, four were erected at Pretoriuskop (where there were already four), fifteen at Satara, twelve at Letaba, six at Balule, one at Olifants Poort and four at Malelane. At Lower Sabie a five-bedroom guesthouse of wood and steel, which previously served as the ranger Tom Duke’s quarters, was restored and made available to tourists.
All the rondavels that were built during that time were according to the so-called “Selby” construction style (which can currently still be seen in Balule camp). Paul Selby was an American mine engineer who also served on the Board. He designed a hut with a gap between the wall and the roof and also a small hole in the top half of the original stable door. The hole in the door was meant to serve as a peephole to see if there were any dangerous animals between the huts before alighting from their rondavels – at that time the rest camps were of course not fenced. These Selby huts rapidly enticed criticism as they were too cold in winter, too dark as a result of lack of windows and also because people could peep in through the holes in the door. They also provided easy access to mosquitoes! From 1931, all new rondavels were provided with windows.
In the early thirties great progress was made with provision of additional tourist amenities. The old guest house at Lower Sabie soon proved a failure as a result of it dilapidation. It was decided to vacate it and rather build a few huts on the banks of the Crocodile River. Eight rondavels were built at Crocodile Bridge in 1931. The guest house was demolished in 1932.
In 1931 use was also made of tents for the first time. These tents, each with four beds, were initially commissioned at Skukuza and subsequently at Satara.
Besides the rest camps already mentioned, six other rest camps were established during this period. In 1931, construction was commenced at the Rabelais Gate. In 1932 the first huts in the new rest camp at Punda Maria were built. They were of the traditional wattle and daub type as cement could not be afforded at that stage. A small rest camp was also built at Malopene in 1932.
A small temporary rest camp comprising tents was erected in 1933 next to the Tsende River at Mabodhlelene. It was only in use for a few months, before construction of Shingwedzi rest camp was commenced as a replacement. Initially this camp also consisted consisted only of tents. In 1935 the first three-hut units, comprising three rooms, were completed.

The roof and external wall structure of these huts as well as others built subsequently, are still in use today.
In 1932 the first ablution block – a unit with four bath and four shower cubicles – was built in Skukuza. During the same year the rest camps were fenced for the first time.
There was experimentation with a new hut design in 1935. At Skukuza, Crocodile Bridge and Letaba, the so-called Knapp- huts were erected. These were square units with corrugated steel roofs, of which the walls were built of large hollow cement bricks. These huts were not liked, they were unsightly and the erection thereof was ceased.
The last two rest camps that were opened to tourists before 1946, were Lower Sabie and Pafuri. After the closing and later demolishing of the guest house at Lower Sabie, it was decided to build a new rest camp. The first buildings of this new rest camp were designed by architects Gerard Moerdyk and were completed in 1936. This comprised three units with six bedrooms each and was laid out in a U-shape. A tent camp was opened in 1939 on the banks of the Luvhuvhu River, where the current Pafuri picnic spot is. A year later it was closed due to flooding and mosquito problems, to only be re-opened after the war.
In many ways the development of the tourism business in the Kruger Park is very similar to that of wildlife management. The Board was involved in a new and unique development for which there were no clear principles or guidelines. Decisions were initially taken haphazardly, and in many cases lessons were learnt through trail and error. As an example, when the first rest huts were built in 1928, it was not considered that rest camps would possibly be established. In 1929 when councilor Oswald Pirow pointed out that the few buildings would not at all meet the needs once visitor numbers increase, he directed as follows: that in future no new huts would be erected, but rather that areas of approximately 100 x 100 metres be fenced and that a corrugated roof structure be erected somewhere near the centre with a container providing boiling water. He felt that such a construction would meet the requirements for a rest camp as visitors preferred to camp out than to stay in huts. The Board agreed with this thinking and accepted the proposal – which was retracted in the same year.
The Boards close link with the Transport Services in establishing the tourism industry has already been reflected. In 1930 the Board undertook to build a rest camp for the SAR in the vicinity of Skukuza, once its own building program had been completed. As a result of the hectic building program, the Board could not meet this commitment and in 1931 the undertaking was withdrawn.
Notwithstanding that hot water is taken fore granted in all public facilities in rest camps today, it was certainly not the case in the early years. Only after the completion of the road between Punda Maria and Letaba, a request was tabled to the Board that ablutions in both camps needed to provide hot water. The road between the rest camps was not only very long but also dusty. (This road for most of the distance ran over dusty black peat soil and could not be graveled during construction). The then chairperson of the Board, Senator Jack Brebner, was not all pleased with the proposal and turned it down on grounds that it was just an unnecessary luxury. The discussion was continued and in 1933 it was granted with some resentment on condition that tourists would pay one shilling (10c) per bath.