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