Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Kruger National Park Safari with Lesley and Christine Cornfield from the 12th - 16th March 2010

Clients were picked up on Friday the 12th March at the Garden Court hotel Airport and transfered to the Kruger National Park. After changing our closed vehicle for one of our open safari vehicles, we left Nelspruit for the final leg of the journey. Upon arrival at the camp of Pretoriuskop, we checked in and gave guests chance to have something to eat prior to leaving on our first game drive at 15h30 that afternoon. We left camp after the guides briefing and was not long before we ran into our first rhino sighting, a female with her calf feeding right next to the road. Upon entry into the park, i had been told of a fire that was burning on both sides of the Napi road and had spread westwards to the Doispane road as well. We made our way in that direction, so as to see if we could pickup any animals that might be moving away ahead of the fire. The road was quite this afternoon and all that was seen on the drive was quite a few Impala, kudu, rhino and Zebra. Clients enjoyed the relaxing drive, and after a good dinner went to bed in order for them to be able to get up early in the morning to leave the camp for the drive.  

Guests enjoyed tea and coffee and we left the camp at around05h30. We had not gone far before finding our first lions at the entrance to the Shitihave dam. They had been seen earlier walking up the road and had now gone to lie down in the grass next to the road. The sighting was not too good as a large number of the llions were very obscured from view while in the long grass. We moved off from the sighting and went down the boulders road finding seven rhino busy eating along the road. We contiued on and went down the H3 in the direction of Kwagga Pan looking for a large herd of buffalo's that had been there the day brfore. When passing the S112, I suddenly found nine wild dogs standing in the road in front of the vehicle. After a while, they decided to lie down in the shade of the vehicle and have a rest as there stomachs looked full as if they had eaten the night before and were not interested in leaving the area. We stayed at the sighting for about an hour, with clients getting some really good photos and also while i helped the other open safari vehicles in the park get down to the sighting before any of the wild dogs decided to leave and push off into the bush. After finishing at the wild dog sighting we took a drive down to Kwagga Pan to see the buffalos that were slowly starting to move away after having had their drink of water.
After watching this sighting, we made our way for the main camp of Skukuza for breakfast.  After a hearty breakfast at the Selati Restaurant, we made our way down Ellof street on the river side to see what we could find. We managed to have good sightings of crocodile and hippos as well as sightings of little bee-eater birds found near to the road. We also manged to find an African Fish Eagle standing on the branch of a deaf tree. We decided to start making our way back in the direction of the camp, as guests were tired from the early morning start and wanted to res before leaving on another drive later in the afternoon. The afternoon safari saw us leaving camp and finding more rhinos as well as general game on the afternoon drive. Guests returned to camp saying that they had really enjoyed the day and were looking forward to having a good meal and a rest before leaving the camp the following morning destined for Skukuza, which would be our home for the next two nights. 

 The next morning after tea and coffee, we took our leave of Pretoriuskop and made our way down the Napi road, turning down the boulders road before coming upon our first sighting of rhinos lying next to the road. We stayed a while at this sighting as they were so close that you could hear then breathing and also sneezing while lying in the early morning sun alongside the road. We moved on and came across our first elephant sighting, something that had been scarce up until now, possibly due to the large area that had been burning for the last two days. We continued on down Napi having a rather quite drive by just getting quite a large number of Zebra, Wildebeest, Impala and Kudu.

After breakfast, we took a drive up to Jones Dam closer to the centrl section of the park, only to find it rather quite as there has been little rain in this area. We slowly made our way over the high water bridge and back to the camp of Skukuza. After checking in, clients went for some coffee and a good rest before leaving on the afternoon drive. Late afternoon, we left camp and made our way in the direction of the Doispane road after hearing on the radio that there had been two leopard seen in the area. It was wanting to start to rain, but we did not worry as the leopard was quite important as this been the only cat species that the guests had not seen in Africa on may previous visits. We went looking for them, but were unsuccessful in finding big cats, as they had already moved off from where they were seen. We made our way back to camp for another good meal and some rest.

The next morning, being the final full day on safari, we left at 05h30 and made our way towards the picnic spot of Tshokwane, were we would have some breakfast. On route we came across some rhino, Giraffe, Impala, Kudu, Warthogs and Zebra. We also came across a corpse of a young lion cub, that had died during the night from what i could see was a serious bought of Bovine Tuberculosis that our lion prides suffer with and contract by eating contaminated bufflo meat. We felt very sorry for the little one and went onto breakfast very subdued. After having had breakfast and also relaying what we had found to the ranger in the area we continued onto the H10. We made our way up to the N'kumbe Lookout area, and after enjoying the view, we made our way down the H10 towards Lower Sabie. Just outside lower Sabie, i received a message on the radio of two leopards lying in trees near to one another near the camp of Skukuza. Knowing how desperate the guests were to see one, we made our way in that direction, arriving about one hour later. We made our way to the two sightings locations, only to find that they had both got out of the trees and moved off. While i was on the second location, one of the other guides by the name of Markus told me of a leopard he had just found near to the transport dam. This leopard was in the same area as the one i found a week earlier with its impala kill in the tree. After discussing this with the guests, I took the watergat road which is a shortcut to the Napi road and only about three km's from the leopard in the tree. After some quite fast driving, we came upon the sighting of this large male leopard lying sleeping in the tree. After looking at him for a while, i could tell that it was the same tom cat that i had found in the tree with his kill about a week before, only this time he was on the opposite side of the road. The guests were extremely happy with this find and were at the same time quite blown away by this cats beauty. After being there for quite a while and a number of photos were taken, we made our way back to camp in order for the guests to take a rest, before leaving on their night drive that was leaving at 17h00.
Guests went out on their night drive and found lions lying next to the road, hyenas, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, snake, chameleon, buffalos and elephant. Upon returning from their night drive, they enjoyed dinner and then it was off to bed for a good rest.

The final morning saw the clients sleeping in for a while, before enjoying a cup of tea and coffee and then going out on the open safari vehicle for our final game drive. Good general game was viewed on the game drive as well as rhino and elephant. Guests then were taken to the camp of Pretoriuskop, were they enjoyed breakfast after which we left the park, changed our vehicle in Nelspruit and made our way back to Johannesburg.

Feedback from the clients was that they had a wonderful time, and will be returning with their children and their families next year. They have a number of grand children that they would like to treat and take on a safari in Africa. We look forward to welcoming them back next year upon their return.  

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Kruger National Park safari with Leon Simon and Partner from the 4th - 7th March 2010

Nhongo Safaris picked up clients on the eastern side of Johannesburg and transfered them through to Nelspruit were we changed over into one of the open safari vehicles and made our way to the Kruger National Park. Guests were on a four day 3 night safari and would be stating two nights in the camp of Pretoriuskop and one night in the main camp of the park called Skukuza. After checking in to the camp, it was out on the road at 15h30 for the guests first game drive. After a distance of about 7 Km's on the Napi road we picked up a female rhino and calf wanting to cross the road. As the park had quite a few people in for the day, we waited for most of the traffic to depart and the positioned ourselves for the photo opportunity as the two came over the road. right on cue out they came giving us a wonderful photo opportunity that could not have been missed. We carried on with our afternoon game drive also getting to see Impala, Kudu, Stenbuck etc. After this it was back to the camp for dinner and a good nights rest in order to get started early the following day.

The following morning,m clients were woken up at 04h45 and after enjoying tea and coffee we left the camp at 05h30. We made our way back down Napi road in the direction of Skukuza and the plan was to go onto the picnic spot of Nkulu for breakfast. About 12km's down the napi road, i came across a sighting of 5 lions lying in the middle of the road. The five comprised of one large male, two female lionesses and two cubs. The pride was not concerned about us and proceeded to go back to sleep when they were satisfied that we were stopped and were going to watch them for a while.

We stayed at the sighting for more than an hour with the guests getting good opportunities for good photos. There were two open safari vehicles that joined us, other than that it was free of any public interference on the sighting.
We decided to take our leave of the lions and made our way down Napi coming upon 8 wild dogs walking in the road. These dogs cover large amounts of ground and are notoriously hard to find.

We stopped our vehicle to the side of the road, only to have the alpha male dog walk up to the vehicle and start to smell it. Eventually the others followed his action and did the same

 This was quite something for the guests aboard the vehicle, as non of them ever thought that they would be able to see wild dogs at such close quarters. As soon as we found the dogs, so thay dissapeared into the bush looking for something to hunt, so we turned the vehicle around and made our way back down the Napi in the direction of Skukuza. About 1,5km's past the entrance to transport dame, we came upon a sighting of two female lionesses and one male lying next to the road. The male was a young sub adult, and it was not too long before they stood up and started to move off in a southerly direction. We decided to make our way onto Skukuza and that we would have breakfast there as time had got away from us due to all the sightings experienced that morning. We made our way to Skukuza finding Klipringer as well as many other antelope species on route to breakfast. After breakfast on the way out of Skukuza, i got a radio call telling us of a leopard that had just killed an impala and pulled his kill up the tree. We decided to make our way in that direction, while on route we got the message that he had been chased by hyenas and had jumped out of the tree and disappeared.
We decided to make our way there anyway as i knew he would come bck sometime to eat. We got to the sighting and managed to get a sighting of the two hyena that were the ones that chased him off the kill. i instructed the clients to stay seated and to be patient as he would return. After about 40 minutes, we were rewarded for being patient as our friend this large tom Leopard suddenly jumped back into the tree and proceeded to lie on the large branch and sleep. We spent another 20 minutes there before getting a call on the radio of two cheetah 200 meters up the road that had decided to come out and walk on the road and mark their territory. We turned the vehicle around and moved out in search for the cheetah. This did not take too long to find, as they were still walking in the road when we drove up.

We were there for quite a while, when they decided to move off the road at a no entry sighn, were they proceeded to mark there territory and also smell the road marker before moving off along the fire break parallel with the Napi road.
We decided to turn the vehicle around and make our way back to the leopard sighting in order to see if we could get some good photos of this guy. He was still in the same place when we arrived and was not going to move quickly. We decided  to make our way to camp for a rest and to return to the leopard sighting that afternoon. We left camp at 15h30 after a good rest and made our way for the leopard, en route we found our two cheetahs lying on a termite mound getting ready to start moving off and looking for something to eat. We carried on getting to our leopard close to 16h30. He had moved and was now in a better position for a photo session. After some good photos had been taken by the guests, it was off back to camp in order to get back before the gates closed. After a good dinner, it was off to bed, as the next morning we were leaving the camp for the camp of Skukuza.

I woke up the clients at 04h45 and aftger some tea and coffee and the packing of the luggage it was off to find more animals. We came across elephant, lion, rhino, kudu, impala, klipspringer etc before breakfast. Breakfast was enjoyed at the Nkulu picnic spot. After breakfast we made our way down to the camp of Lower Sabie coming across large herds of elephants all on the way to the river in order to take the days drink. We took a drive to Sunset dam and came across a huge buffalo bull lying in the water cooling himself down.
we then made our way back to the camp as the guests were going out on a night drive and it was leaving at 17h00.
I helped the guests onto the night drive telling them i would meet them back there upon there return. When the guests returned at about 20h30, they had had quite an eventful game drive, going back to our leopard and finding him there finishing off his kill and then jumping out of the tree and walking away and then also to come upon a single lioness with four hyenas trying to attack her and push her off the bridge. Upon the guests return, they were quite upset about the lioness, so i managed to calm them down by letting them know that it wouls be a very difficult thing to kill a female lioness. After a good dinner at the Selati restaurant, the guests went to bed.

Up early next morning in order for the guests to have there last game drive, we decided to drive down and see if we could see the lioness from the previous evening. While we were driving to the area, some other safari vehicles reported that they had found her together with her cub and that they were fine. Unfortunately when we got to the area were they were, they had already moved off, so we were a little bit unlucky on seeing her again.
We then decided to make our way to Pretoriuskop for breakfast before leaving the park and making our way back to Nelspruit and then on to Johannesburg.

Feedback from the guests was that they had a wonderful time and as one of them is from South Africa and still has family that stays her, they will be returning with us next year again and are looking at doing one of our 9 Day North to South Safaris in order to  experience the rest of the park. Some of the clients have promised to send through some of there photos, so we will keep you posted upon there arrival with us. All in all, it was a wonderful experience. 

Kruger National Park Safari with Mr and Mrs De Brujn from the 7th - 15th Febuary 2010

Clients were picked up at Phalaborwa after there flight from Johannesburg. This was a nine day safari starting in the North of the Park and finishing in the Southern section of the park in the camp of Pretoriukop. We entered the Kruger Park through the Phalaborwa gate and made our way to Letaba for a break before continuing on to the Camp of Shingwedzi. On route we came across some nice elephant, Zebra and Impala. Just outside of Letaba we ran into our first big herd of buffalo just above the Letaba river. About 10 Km's from Letaba on route to Shingwedzi we came across some Ostrich that was standing right next to the road. We continued or travels onto the camp of Shingwedzi finding good buffalo, elephant, impala, hyena and aso stopping off for some wonderful photos of the large Baobab trees found in the northern section of the park.
After dinner, it was off to bed as we had an early start en route to the most northern camp of  Punda Maria.

The next day after enjoying tea and coffee, we made our way out of Shingwedzi and when turning onto the main road, we came across some hyena together with some pups lying in the road. After spending some time at this sighting we continued our trip northwards in the hope of finding some of our larger elephants that are known to inhabit this area. Well our wait was not to long, as we came across quite a number of the large tuskers found in this area. We also got good shots of some of the many bird species found in this area much to the delight of the guests onboard. We made our way to the camp of Punda Maria for breakfast. After breakfast we found a huge buffalo bull near the water, he was quite skittish but guests managed to get good photos non the less.
We made our way in an easterly direction finding large numbers of elephant and buffalo as well as some really good birds of prey. On the road back to camp we came across a Blackbacked Jackal walking in the road, this guy was not too worried about us as he was hunting and trying to find something to eat. We arrived back at the camp of Shingwedzi again at 14h00. Clients decided to take a rest and we would go out again at 16h00. We took a late afternoon drive out of camp and came across some more hyena, baboons and some birds of prey. We decided to make our way to one of the bird hides in the area of the Shingwedzi river in order to see what was going on over there. Upon our arrival we were met by a sighting of Hippos in the river busy playing around and quite a large number of different bird species. We also got to see some white backed vultures on the opposite bank of the river busy taking a drink. Soon it was time to make our way back to camp as the gates were going to close for the night, but as we neared the camp we came upon a saddlebilled stork near a waterhole. This guy was busy posing for the camera, and as we have so few of them in thhe park, we decided to stay for a couple of minutes to watch him. We eventually got back to camp with one minute to spare. After dinner clients decided to have an early night as it wasup early the next day to make our way to the camp of Letaba.

The next morning saw us leaving camp early at 05h30 and making our way in a southerly direction on the Kanniedood road and later on the S50. We were lucky to get good sightings of giraffe, elephant, Zebra, kudu and many different birds of prey. We stopped off at the Nyawutsi bird hide for an hour or so, and had some wonderful sightings of red billed quillia, masked weavers, woodland kingfishers etc. We then carried on taking a drive to the Shibavantsengele lookout for a view of the park from the Lebombo mountains. We carried on coming upon a sighting b etween the Nshawu and Nshawu no3 waterholes of a dead female buffalo with a fetus hanging out covered with Whiteback, cape, and lappedfaced vultures busy feeding on her. This was quite a sight, as she must have died while in the process of giving birth. The carcass was so fresh that there were no lions or any predetors to be seen in the area. After about an hour + we took our leave of this sighting been the only vehicle on it and carried onto the camp of Letaba. We had a wonderful sighting of large group of male elephants at the middelvlei waterhole and reservoir. Close to the camp of Letaba, we got good sightings of buffalo, waterbuck, impala and bushbuck which are quite common in the area. The afternoon was spent in the camp as guests were feeling quite tired from the days events. After a good dinner, clients went to bed in order to get an early start in the morning. 

After packing the vehicle the following morning and enjoying a cup of coffe and tea, we were on the road again bound for the camp of Olifants and then onto the camp of Satara were we would spend the next two nights. The road between Letaba and Olifants was quite with only good sightings of Elephant, and Hippo together with some good stops at the different lookout points along the way. We arrived at the Olifants camp looking forward to breakfast and the wonderful view that can be experienced from the camp. After breakfast we made our way onto the S90 in a southerly direction towards Satara. We came across large herds of Zebra, Wildebeest and white storks that come to South Africa for the summer season. We also had more sightings of waterbuck, stenbuck and kudu. We arrived at Satara at about lunch time as there heat of the day was peaking at about 38 degrees and clients were feeling the heat. We left camp again at about 16h00 and took a drive down the H6 towards the N'wanetsi picnic spot, also picking up buffalo, elephant, zebra, wildebeest and Kudu. We arrived back at camp just before the gates closed. Clients enjoyed a good buffet dinner and the had drinks on the stoep outside the restaurant overlooking the small waterhole outside the camp. 

The following morning it was off and out of the camp when the gates opened, we made our way northwards on the H1 and then turned onto the Ntomeni road making our way down onto the S39 untill it reached the H7, this proved to be a quite strech ofroad that morning with only elephant and hyena as well as lots of lion spoor on the road. Upon reachin g the H7, we turned back in the direction of the Satars camp in order to go back for breakfast, while traveling along, we came upon a sighting of more than 100 elephants bathing in the Nsemani Dam. This was quite a sighting and we stayed in this area for almost an hour watching this spectacle.

We watched this sighting for quite a time as we saw more herds of elephant coming down to drink and take a bath that we were  nearly late for breakfast, but the clients did not mind as this was something seldom seen. Finally we made our way back to the camp for breakfast and a well deserved break. We left camp towards the south and turned onto the Sweni road and then down s36 returning to the H1-3 on the s125. We picked up elephant, buffalo, zebra and wildebeest as well as many of the smaller antelope species. We made our way back to the camp for a well deserved rest before the guests would go out on there night drive. Guests left the camp of Satara on their night drive, getting good sightings of rhino, buffalo, elephant as well as lion and two leopard cubs close to the road. These sightings were enjoyed by all.

The next morning it was out of camp bright and early after packing the vehicle and to move out in a southerly direction bound for the camp of Skukuza (the main camp of the park). The road was very quite and so we drove in to the picnic spot at Tshokwane for breakfast quite early. After breakfast we made our way down on the H10 were we had good sighings of elephant, buffalo, impala, kudu, warthog and waterbuck. We also stopped off at the Nkumbe lookout spot for a time just to sit and listen to all the different bird sounds in the area. After making a stop off at the camp of Lower Sabie, we took a look at the sunset dam. Upon reaching the dame, we found large pods of hippos and crocodiles as well as many bird species. We continued on to Skukuza finding some lions lying on the opposite side of the sabie river, a little too distant to get any good photos. further along the road many elephant, buffalo and rhino sightings were enjoyed. We arrived at camp mid afternoon having enjoyed the day immensely.

We took a drive later in the afternoon along the river where many good sightings were experienced and many good sightings of birds were found.

The following morning it was time to pack up and leave for the camp of Pretoriukop which would be the home of the guests for the last two nights of the safari. We had a good morning traveling around the area of Skukuza and then making our way down to the camp of Pretoriuskop. We went out on an afternoon drive, had some good sightings but did not find anything new out there. After a good dinner, it was off to bed as it was  valentines day the following day and clients were going to have a special dinner. 

It was out early as usual as clients by this time were quite used to the early mornings. We took a drive down the napi road in the direction of Skukuza in order to have breakfast at the Nkulu picnic spot. We turned onto the H3 and a short way down came upon 2 lions walking in the road. After this good sighting, we decided to go for breakfast and come back later in order to try and find them again. After breakfast we went back into the area and came upon a male and female breading pair of lions.

This was areally good sighting only that we had to share it with many other open safari vehicles. By this time, we had been quite used to being at sightings on our own were we could spend hours just watching and discussing the developments as they occurred. Clients were also happy to finally get some good photos of the lions that had proved to be pretty illusive up until now. We made our way back to camp in high spirits, and after taking a well deserved rest, we were back on the road for a final afternoon drive. After a good drive, clients had a loverly Valentines day dinner in the camp restaurant before retiring for the night.

The next morning, it was up early for a final game drive before returning to the camp for breakfast and time for the guests to pack their things before taking a drive to the nelspruit airport in order for them to pickup their hired car.

The feedback from the guests was that they had a wonderful experience that they will never forget, they enjoyed all the camps while on safari, as well as all of the accommodation, food and the organization that went into the safari. They also expressed an interest to return on another safari to the Kruger national Park in the near future.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kruger National Park Safari with Mr and Dr Plunket from the 25th - 28th Febuary 2010

I met my clients at Crossings shopping centre in Nelspruit after being transfered by Dean from Johannesburg, and as soon as the baggage was packed, we headed off to the Kruger Park for a 4 night stay in the Southern part of the park based at Pretoriuskop.

After obtaining our vehicle permits at Numbi gate we drove down to Pretioriuskop. At this stage my clients needed a light lunch and just sometime out of a motor vehicle, before we could be on our way “animal hunting”. We all agreed that that an afternoon drive, commencing at 15h30 would be the call of the day.

As I had been out of the park for a couple of days, this gave me ideal opportunity to chat with other guides and hear of any good animal sightings in the area.  Same old answers from the other guides “Ja, this area is pumping”.  With what I asked “ah, the usual stuff” they answered.
Not very interesting I must admit, but then again I’m not paid to take short cuts. Fortunately I’ve had “Old School” training and don’t rely on what people say, but rather get out there and look for myself.
Some brainy chap once said “the more you out there, the more chance to see things”. I think the guy was Einstein’s brother.

15h30 sharp, I picked up my clients and set off down Napi road. We turned off to Shatavi waterhole as I could see the big Jumbo’s of the bush were bathing. Got to the edge of the water and saw 17 African elephants all either drinking water, spraying them with mud or physically lying in the water, similar to that of a Hippo Float (Collective noun).
This was extremely interesting, as it looked as though some elephants had decided that they would just stand there and watch. They didn’t even touch the water and politely moved off to the main rd.  Once they had left so did we, and we continued on our search for other animal sightings in the area.

At the entrance to Napi boulders, a Rhino bull was standing sent marking his territory. I switched off the engine of my OSV and allowed him to approach us. Rhino’s have poor eyesight and only when it’s almost too late, then they realize they somewhere they shouldn’t be. Nimble fellow as it took him a fraction of a second to cross the road once he spotted us. As you all know, time is what stops us having fun and at this stage, I decided to start heading back to camp.
Kurt (A College) called me and told me of a leopard sighting just outside of Pretoriuskop camp. No guide in the park chases after a leopard sighting, as we all know the nature of the animal we talking about. They prefer to stay out of the lime light and usually hide very well. With having said this, we took a ride down the gravel rd and approximately 30m from the Numbi tar Junction; there she lay under some natural thickets. Something strange, although we were there, she didn’t move off like most do. Movement in the bush gave the game away. There lay her cub. After spending approximately 30min with her, we started the car and drove back into camp. Successful first afternoon drive I thought.

05h30 Coffee at the OSV and with that bit of caffeine in our bodies, we left camp for a northern route.  I went back to the leopard site, to see if she had moved off, during the night. No there they were. To my surprise, it wasn’t 1 cub but 2 just lying there enjoying he morning sun. We spent some time with them and then moved off, to see what else we could get for the day.

Andrew (A College) called me and informed me that there were wild dog on the road I was traveling, but when we got to the area, nothing could be seen as they had moved off into the bush. We stopped off at Skakuza for breakfast and then continued our route to Tshokwane. Usually between Skakuza and Tshokwane there are good animal sightings, not today. From Tshokwane we drove along the H10 to Lower Sabie – Boring would sum the drive up.

We decided we would skip the stop at Lower Sabie and rather head for Nkuklu picnic spot. Sunset dam had its usual attractions Hippos, Crocks and wonderful bird life. Well we moved on and 4.9kms from sunset dam lay 3 Male, 2 female Lions with 2 cubs. We spent approximately 20min with them and then for no reason, they all got up and moved off into the thicket. Astonishing how fast a predator can disappear in to the bush.
2.1kms from the pride of Lions, we came across a leopard lying halfway up a Marula tree. Brilliant photos were taken as he seemed rather interested in us and kept looking our way.

At the Eco entrance, 4 Black manned male lions, lying in the river bed. It’s amazing how many times I come across Lions in the park just lying sleeping.

The park is dry and judging on the water flowing in the Sabie River for this time of the year, we have a very dry winter ahead of us. As we drove on general game was out and it seemed everything was crossing over the road to enjoy a drink of the most important source of life “Water”. 

At bravo entrance a herd of elephant crossed over also on their way to water. This seemed to make up for what was not a good start to our day. At 16h30, we started making our way back to camp and driving down Napi rd. We chatted about “The battle of Kruger” footage taken at transport dam. I told my guests that I would take them down to see the famous water hole.

We turned onto the gravel rd heading towards Transport dam and 1.2kms from Napi, something amazing happened.
1 slow animal, 1 very fast animal chasing and a whole lot of dust.
“What’s happening?” asked my guests.
The answer: The world’s fasted animal on 4 legs (Cheetah) has just taken down the most common antelope in the Kruger (Impala). There it sat front legs on its prey, just trying to catch its breath. The impala tried to get up, but not today as the teeth of the predator sunk into its neck. A jolt and then stillness – the Cheetah had won.  Thanks for the show Mr. spottie

With all of this to take in, we traveled back to camp with happy people on board, all chatting about the brilliant sightings for the day.

The next morning my guests were still chatting about the previous day. Happy that we saw such great things we drove out of camp after having our usual cup of coffee.
Down Voortrekker road as the previous day one of my colleges had spotted a pride of 17 Lion’s and I was interested in seen if we could pick them up. No luck though, I could see their spoor but nothing else. They must have moved off during the evening.

Voortrekker gave us some good general game sightings such as Zebra, giraffe, different antelope etc. and this kept us busy while we built up a hunger. Just before a got my first groan of hunger from my clients, we arrived at afsaal. Trust me a Trader’s breakfast is always good.

As my guests were flying back to the U.K the next day (14hrs flight), they asked if we could make our way back to camp, so they could spend an afternoon just relaxing at the pool in camp. They wanted to enjoy their last midday African Sun. I agreed and we took a slow drive towards camp.

The next morning, we went out for a short drive and drove down Albaseni road as very often there’s wonderful sightings early in the morning. 1.4Kms from the tar, we came across a herd of buffalo, all standing chewing the early morning cud. This was enough for my guests and it put the “Cherry on the top” as the Big 5 was seen in the largest animal reserve in the world.

We returned to camp for a breakfast and after that bid the Kruger National Park farewell, were my guests would go back home and I would start with my longing to be back in the bush.  

Till next time my friends
Good night, God bless, Goodbye

Senior Nhongo Safaris Guide

Kruger National Park Day Safari with Mr and Mrs Burgoyne on the 28th January 2010

Total Open Safari Vehicles in the  park – 06
Total Rubber Ducks in the park – 01

Take it you all know by now that the rubber duck was driven by me.

We entered Numbi gate at 13h40, and as it was an afternoon drive exiting again at Numbi gate, my route planned was Albasini – Doispan – Waterhole – Napi and back out. Depending on animal sightings we would expect to exit at approximately 17h30.

The first 30min on our journey, felt like a rain cloud followed us as we drove along. We were like “die hard Lion hunters” as I had raised the sides of the vehicle. After all, my guests had paid for an OPEN SAFARI VEHICLE experience in the Kruger.

Although the rain was falling, we had some very good sightings of general game (Giraffe, Impala, Waterbuck and Kudu).
As we approached the 6.2kms mark past Mestel dam, lying in a mud bath, 3 white rhino (2 adults and a young calf). Brilliant visual as they were approximately 30m off the road in the open. You won’t believe it but 5m from them on the trunk of a dead Marula tree stood the fastest land mammal with 4 legs. “Cheetah” and everyone changed their focus from horned beasts to a very special cat.  She allowed us to take a couple of photo’s and then gracefully climbed down and was lost among the tall yellow thatch grass.

Further in (App 100m) we saw the Cape Buffalo standing there just doing what they do well (Chewing the cud). After spending some time providing my guests with info on all the animals, I turned on the vehicle and pulled away slowly.

My wheels had completed a full revolution, when once again I had to stop as an old Elephant Bull politely walked out in front of the vehicle. Greeted us with the usual sniff and head shake and continued on his merry way past us.

I wondered if we, were going to get to drive the entire route, or should we just sit in one place and wait for the animals to come to us.

Most of my route had regular sightings of general game. However not much luck with any other Cats today. Time caught us unfortunately and we had to move along swiftly.

We got to exit the park just after 18h00 and while packing the goggles and snorkels away, all of us agreed that a rainy day in Kruger, beats the best day in the office.
Until Sunday my animal friends, It definitely

Good night, God bless, good-by

Senior Nhongo Safaris Guide

Kruger National Park Safari with Doug and Madeline Pratt Johnson 23rd - 26th January 2010

Doug and Madeline were picked up from Craighall House in Sandton, and we started to make our way to Nelspruit, after changing vehicles in Nelspruit our way onto the Kruger National Park. The camp that we were staying at was Pretoriuskop. After checking in and a chance for some lunch, we left the camp at 15h30 for our first game drive. We managed to see elephant, Rhino, Kudu and also lion just before the transport dam turn off on the Napi road.

Next morning, it was up early and out of camp after a cup of tea and coffee. We were making our way in the direction of one of the picnic spots for breakfast. We managed to get more lion, rhino, elephant and buffalo en route leaving jus the elusive leopard as the one not seen yet to make up the big five. Nobody was to worried as we had a whole halfo of the day as well as the following day to find one before they left to go back to Johannesburg and then on with there holiday throughout the rest of South Africa. After breakfast we carried on down to the camp of Lower Sabie and then onto the H10 towards Tshokwane. We managed to have good sightings of hippo, Crocodile, Kudu, Elephant, Buffalo and more Lion, before making our way back to camp in the late afternoon. That evening was spent having a good dinner in the camp restaurant and then having an early night as the guests were quite tired from the hours spent on the open safari vehicle looking for animals.

The next day, we left camp at 05h30 after tea and coffee and made our way in the direction of Skukuza only to be called and told about a leopard lying in a tree on the Doispan road. It was determined by the actions of the leopard that he was not going to move too quickly, so i decided to make our way in that direction. We cut accross from the napi road to Doispan via the road known as watergat and were able to find the leopard lying not even 1 km from the junction in a Marula tree. Upon arriving at the sighting, we were lucky as the large amount of traffic experienced by other guides while on the sighting had completely disappeared and we and another two vehicles were the only ones left on the sighting. After about a half an hour we decided to make our way to breakfast as we were already late and the guests were hungry.
For the rest of the day, we encountered large herds of elephant, buffalo, hippo, crocodile and more lion. We then had to make our way back to camp as the guests were going on their night drive that left at 17h00. While on the night drive guests experienced many nocturnal animals as well as some very good giant eagle owls standing on the road in front of the truck.

The following morning, we conducted our last game drive. After breakfast we made our way out of the park and back to Nelspruit and then onto Johannesburg. We dropped the guests off back at Craighall House in order for them to pickup there rental car before continuing there journey onto Natal.

Doug and Madeline said they had a good time, and will be returning to visit us again.