Friday, March 29, 2013

From The CEO's Desk

Dr David Mabunda

Poaching in the Kruger National Park has clearly become one of the greatest conservation challenges of our time, , and is something we as SANParks are determined to deal with head on. I recently had the oppertunity to be involved in a five - hour helicopter pursuit of suspected poachers over densely vegetated terrain in the park. Over and above my long past association with the KNP, the experience of this pursuit gave me an additional appreciation of the difficulties that are faced by our rangers in this enviroment. Not only do they have to cope with the inhospitable and sometimes impenetrable terrain, but they also have to deal with heavily armed poachers who are backed by a sophisticated and well - resourced machinery. I am of the view that sometimes the category of "enviromental crime" and the term "poaching" do not fully cover the nature of what we are dealing with. Rhino poaching has become linked with organized crime syndicates, which have a national, regional and international character. We are dealing with a crime syndrome that is akin to crash - in - transit heists and the activities of the international drug cartels. Despite our best efforts in 2012, the number of rhino killed in Kruger continued to escalate, as they did nationally. What we have had to recognize is that we are in a war situation, requiring military measures to stem the tide of rhino mortalities. We have therefore appointed retired SA National Defense Force Maj Gen Jooste to head up a revamped command structure, which will give operations on the ground that extra momentum to contain the threat. We have also entered into partnerships with DANEL (a public-owned arms manufacturer), the Paramount Group (a private-owned arms manufacturer) and the Ichikowitz Family Trust to enable us to deploy cutting-edge technology in assisting the fight against this crime. As with many modern wars it is not just the will and determination of the forces on the ground, but also the ability to develop and utilize advanced technology, that will determine the eventual outcome. We acknowledge, of course, that the long-term solutions lie in dealing with the markets for rhino horn, and within the terrain of international relations, both in Asia and closer to home in respect of our neighbor Mozambique. In relation to the letter we recognize that the concept of Transfrontier Conservation Areas has brought benefits to conservation and to improving international relations. In the case in point, however, the dropping of the fence between the KNP and Mozambique has proved our weakest line of defense against incursions into the park by gangs of poachers. I will refrain from quoting the adage, “good fences make good neighbors", but suffice to say we are compelled to look at all options in order to defend the eastern boundary. You, the public, have been especially supportive throughout this ordeal, and I would like to extend a special word of thanks to all those who have given their time and resources in helping us to deal with this scourge. We know we will not eliminate it in the immediate future, but we are aiming to reverse the trend and at last see a reduction in the rate by the end of the year. We owe it to both current and future generations to ensure that we do not fail in this difficult and yet worthwhile Endeavour.

SANParks Times newspaper March 2013

Rhino Poaching Update

#RhinoPoaching update and #MoU signed between SA and China... View the link for the full story

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Job Well Done by KNP Rangers In the Fight Against Poaching

3 poachers fatally wounded by KNP rangers in Crocodile Bridge yesterday 27 March 2013. A .458 new hunting rifle, silencer ammunition & poaching equipment were found.

We thank the KNP Rangers for a job well done in the fight against poaching and bringing those responsible to justice in the hope to save this beautiful animal.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

KNP Ranger Tells Of His Harrowing Ordeal With Lion

Living in the Kruger National Park can be exhilarating and even life –threatening at times. This story on KNP’s ranger, Gus Adendorff’s close encounter with a lioness was first published in the February 1986 edition of the Custos. This wildlife conservation magazine was the flagship of South African National Parks from 1971 until 1998. Recently, as part of a SANParks honorary rangers project, the magazines were recaptured on a DVD-set. This story of Adendorff, as told by Arie Minnaar, is a taste of what appears inside the Custos pages...

“I can recall one incident at Shingwedzi when tourists reported a lion with a snare around its neck and body. It was near the tourist road, six or more kilometres from the camp. It was just after sunset and i immediately went to the place they indicated. When I arrived there, I spotted four lions. One of the females did not get up and assumed a threatening pose. I drove to within a few meters of her. My immediate presence forced her to stand up. The snare as clearly visible. It had already cut through her skin and her entrails started protruding on the side of her stomach. Limping, she fled onto the undergrowth. I did not have my dogs with me and decided to wait until the next morning. At the crack of dawn a few rangers, three of my dogs and I went to where I had seen her the previous evening. The dogs easily picked up her scent and in hot pursuit they charged into the undergrowth, the rangers and I followed close behind. I suspected that she would be laying dead somewhere. Deeper into the bush, the dogs followed the wounded lioness blood spoor. We went on for about five kilometres. The sun was becoming scorching hot. Thorns and reeds scratched our exposed limbs and we stopped to drink water. I was standing in the shade of a tree, lighting a cigarette. Now and again the excited barking of the dogs could be heard as they scented the fresh spoor. Suddenly the tone of their barking changed. I knew by the sound they found something. Distinguishable from their barking, the growling of the furious lioness was clearly audible. Then the dogs were quiet. One of them howled, and in an instant they ere speeding towards us with the lioness following on their heels. When she spotted me, she changed direction. With great bounds she charged towards me. There as a large Mopani tree to the left. I ran to it to steady the rifle on one of its branches, but time was running out. She was nearly upon me and I was forced to shoot. I can still see her in my imagination – fire in her eyes, mouth gaping and curved yellow canines glistening in the sun. I pulled the trigger. Luckily the bullet hit her in the chest, and her head sagged. The momentum of her body made her fall head over heels a few times. She came to a standstill a few paces away from me. My helpers and dogs had all taken to their heels. My whole body was shaking uncontrollably. Everything had happened so fast an unexpectedly. If that last shot had missed the mark, I would have been dead.”


SANParks Makes Public Its Ten Year Responsible Tourism Strategy

SANParks makes public its Ten Year Responsible Tourism Strategy.... Follow the link to view the full story

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Safari Continuing From 18 March 2013

23 March 2013

We left Nkambeni  and went down Numbi gate tar getting a elephant herd close to shabeni kopies. We carried on for a while finding buffalo, more elephant and rhino and then at 8.2km's down napi we came across a cheetah lying quite a way from the road. We enjoyed the sighting although there were many local cars around us, we then made our way down napi, only to find another cheetah sighting 700mtrs past the last one. We enjoyed this one as it was a bit closer and lying on a termite mound. After the sighting, we turned onto the h3. We travelled down 3.2km's and found two male lions lying close to the road, after some good photos we headed for Skukuza for a break.

After our break the route driven was down the Paul kruger gate road then down river road up the river road link and then down doispane, albasini to Numbi gate. Animals seen were zebra, elephant, rhino,impala and giraffe.

After dropping off some guests returning to Johannesburg, we made our way down to Shithave dam before going into Pretoriuskop for lunch upon reaching Shithave dam, we came across our buffalo that had already been lying there for three days lying and wallowing in the dam, some waterbuck and hippo's were also seen. After lunch together with new guests that had arrived, we made our way to Nkambeni as all were going on a sunset drive.

James took the other guests from Pretoriuskop down napi to transport dam and then back to Nkambeni. They managed to find cheetah, elephant, rhino and buffalo.

24 March 2013

Today both vehicles travelled together from Nkambeni down Numbi gate tar onto napi to skukuza. Animals seen were rhino, elephant, buffalo, impala, kudu and giraffes. We heard of some lions at transport dam, but when we got there they were lying flat that we could not see them.

After our break at skukuza we travelled up Tshokwane tar around marula loop up and over the high water bridge and down elloff street back to skukuza for lunch.

Animals spotted were at 5.1km's down marula loop a breaking pair of lions, at 6.4km's two big male lions lying in the river line, we also got good sightings of a large herd of elephants from the high water bridge as well as other sightings of baboon, impala, kudu, giraffe and wharthog.

After lunch the route driven back to camp was down Paul Kruger Gate road and onto doispane, up the watergat to napi road and then onto Numbi gate. This was a long drive with only sightings of giraffe, elephant, impala and kudus.

25 March 2013

This morning it was out of the camp, down the Numbi gate tar were we found a large herd of elephant playing in the road close to Pretoriuskop camp, after watching them for a while, we made our way straight down napi to transport dam and back to Numbi gate. Made a stop at Shithave dam to see if our buffalo friend was still kicking. After watching him for a while we carried on with really nothing else seen until we left the park.

26 March 2013
Today more guests arrive and Dean heads back into the park to see what new sightings he can find.

More updates coming soon..........

Rhino Girl Donates Winnings To Fight Poaching

SANParks Communications

Afeefah Patel (8) got the nations attention when she wrote a letter to president Jacob Zuma to “stop the bad people from killing our beautiful rhino”. With the assistance of her sister, little Afeefah addressed her letter to Zuma with one simple request: to aid in the fight against rhino poaching. Little did she know that her request would receive a response from the president himself. Afeefah was honoured with the corporate contribution to conservation award at the recent South African National Parks (SANParks) kudu awards where she also received a cash prize of R20 000. To show her commitment to this plight, Afeefah donated R5 000 towards the Unitrans VW Unite against Rhino Poaching Trust, “to help my rhino”.

SANParks Times newspaper March 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013

On Safari with Dean Starting 18 March 2013

18 March 2013
Route: Numbi gate - Pretoriuskop for lunch - Napi - H3 - Quagga pan - Numbi gate.
 A very quiet day with only four sightings of rhino and three sightings of elephant experienced.
 19 March 2013
Today's route was Numbi onto Pretoriuskop Koppies were there were some male and female lions. After watching them for a while, we made our way onto napi road, getting more rhino and elephant, kudu and impala, we made our way down the h3 as we heard of lions lying 800 meters from the s112, however when we arrived they turned out to be one legend wonders as they were on there backs out for a count.
We went as far as quagga pan and turned back to skukuza were we went for a break. After the break, we drove the triangle up Tshokwane tar, over the high water bridge and back on elloff street, nothing was really seen just a martial eagle, some white back vultures and that was it. We made our way back to camp on napi road. After a good rest that was awfully hot, we went out on another game drive getting buffalo at Shithave dam and the lions again at Pretoriuskop koppies. Unfortunately could not get photos due to very high grass and me sitting to low. After this we made our way back to camp.
 20 March 2013
Route: Nkambeni - Numbi gate tar - Napi - H3 - Quagga pan - Napi – Skukuza - Camp

Animals seen were impala, kudu, rhino, buffalo, elephant and lions at Quagga pan. After a stop at Skukuza we went down to the low water bridge and got more buffalo and hippo. We took a drive back down the h3 and onto the s113 and the down the biyamiti loop and got two lionesses with four cubs. After this good sighting we made our way back to the s113 were we got some great saddle billed storks. We made our way back up the h3 and down Napi to camp as guests were going on there night drive.
21 March 2013
Route: Numbi gate tar – Napi - Napi boulders loop – Shithave - Numbi gate
After Breakfast we headed out, not much seen  just some elephants and buffalo as well as impala and kudu. We then headed to Numbi Gate as some guests were leaving and new guests were arriving.
Afternoon drive with new guests:
Route: Numbi gate – Napi - Skukuza for lunch
On route had sightings of rhino, buffalo, elephant, impala and kudu. After lunch at Skukuza we went back to Numbi gate on the Napi getting more rhino and elephant as well as a female leopard walking in the grass 500mtrs from Shithave dam junction after this we made our way back to the camp.
22 March 2013

Next morning it was the same route but also going down to transport dam were we found lions 50mtrs from the Napi road lying sleeping. Other sightings include rhino, Buffalo, elephant, impala, zebra, giraffe, kudu and two cheetahs.
Afternoon drive:

New guests arrived and we took a trip down Napi road to Shithave dam getting waterbuck and buffalo, then went back to Napi and down to Napi boulders loop getting impala and kudu, we then made our way in the direction of Numbi gate, getting elephant and rhino as well as more impala and kudu.
That’s all for now.....

Facts For The Day

The Complex Blood Line...!

The stately giraffe, whose head sits some 16 feet up atop an unlikely pedestal, adapted his long neck to compete for foliage with other grazers. While the advantage of reach is obvious, some difficulties arise at such a height. The heart must pump twice as hard as a cow’s to get blood up to the brain, and a complex blood vessel system is needed to ensure that blood doesn’t rush to the head when bent over. Six feet below the heart, the skin of the legs must then be extremely tight to prevent blood from pooling at the hooves.

- Arun

Did you know that:

A rhinocero's horn is made of hair,
The horns of most animals have a bony core covered by a thin sheath of keratin, the same substance as hair and nails. Rhino horns are unique, however, because they are composed entirely of keratin.

- Alfa

Friday, March 22, 2013

Rhino Fridays


The Managing Executive- Conservation Services of SANParks Dr. Hector Magome spoke on SA.FM this week. Amongst other things, he mentioned that 80% of the rhino being poached out of our iconic Kruger National Park, are being poached on the Mozambiquan side, over which our rangers and military have no Jurisdiction. Furthermore, it was said that it is not illegal in Mozambique, to be in possession of rhino horn ie; not a crime. ( I have not been able to confirm that this is indeed so )
Last year, South Africa and Mozambique signed an M.O.U. ( Memorandum Of Understanding) specifically regarding rhino poaching, with Mozambique agreeing to do all it can to stop this scourge from their side. We urge Mozambiques High Commissioner to South Africa, based in Pretoria to adhere to the terms of the M.O.U signed with South Africa and make rhino poaching a priority crime in Mozambique.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

On Safari with Mark Continuing from 11 March Ending 14 March 2013

11 March 2013

Route: satara - S37 - tshokwane tar - H10 - eloff - napi - H3 - berg en dal tar

A total of 27 giraffe seen today. 9 different dazzles of zebra with a combination of blue wildebeest. 11 warthog. Kudu and impala till we just drove past (to many to stop for). Magnificent 7 elephant bulls spotted throughout the day. 3 different large herds of female elephants on H10.Very little game viewing on ellof street. 2 male lion's just sleeping on the road 1.1km down marola loop. Many rhino's spotted throughout the day with the largest crash been 5 in total. Just before the H3 & berg en dal tar junction we got 10 wild dog lying in the road. They got up and moved closer to the shade the vehicle gave from the late afternoon sun. 2.1km before berg en dal camp we had mating kudu's on the side of the road. All in a days work. Now we only need a really good leopard sighting.

12 March 2013

Route: Berg en Dal Tar - H3 - little jock - S114 - Doispan - Albaseni - Nkabemeni  - camp

Once again the morning drive was relatively quiet with general game spotted on the way to breakfast at Afsaal. We decided to go to biaymiti causeway as for the past 2 days a pride of lions was in the area and could still possibly be there, No luck though, it looked to me as though they had decided to move on during the evening. While at the causeway we found a female leopard lying in a huge marola tree approximately 60m off the road, after a while she got down and moved off into the thicket. On the S114 we had a couple of buffalo bulls (dagga boys) come across the road and could show the guests how fast a huge animal like this can disappear into the bush, without any sign of them within 2min of the crossing. After lunch we drove up doispan and found a leopard lying in a drainage line 7.4km from river link junction. We watched it for approximately 45min, while it just lay sleeping. As we were about to leave it woke up and moved off  into the bush on its late afternoon walk. Albaseni was relatively quiet, with only a small journey of giraffe heading in the direction of Nkambeni camp. Great to have had 2 leopard sightings for the day and my guests were very pleased with the outcome.

13 March 2013

Route: Numbi tar - napi - H3 - S112 - napi - marola loop - eloff st - watergat - napi

We decided to head out along the Napi in search of a cheetah. This didn't happen and although we searched in the area last spotted both Dean and I couldn't find her. While continuing with our drive, we were informed of 2 male lion's on the S112 lying enjoying the morning sun. As this was the only animal of the big 5 that two of my clients hadn't seen, we drove to go have a look. Not a great sighting as these guys were doing what lions do well and that is sleep. Every now and again, one would look up and this gave the guests opportunity to view these beautiful creatures. After lunch we headed out towards Marola loop to have a look what was in the area. A short sighting of a Honey badger carrying her pup in her mouth, was definitely the sighting of the day for me. After that we travelled around and saw very little other than the general game such as Kudu, Impala, Klipspringer, Zebra, Giraffe, warthog, blue wildebeest, steenbok and grey duikers. We decided to have an earlier afternoon and headed back to camp to enjoy the sunset chatting on the deck overlooking the hippo pool.

14 March 2013

Route: Napi - Watergat - Doispan - Albaseni - Out of the park

Despite leaving camp at 5h30 the early bird doesn't always catch the worm. Napi was relatively quiet until we got to Klipspringer koppies, were a Female leopard was on the rocks but heading north. While at klipspringer koppies a colleague reported a pride of lions in the watergat causeway and we headed in that direction. 2 males, 2 females and 4 cubs were spotted  lying in the riverbed enjoying a rest. Rhino and elephant were spotted throughout the trip and it was a great way to end of the 7 day safari. We had a late breakfast at nkambeni and while busy with it, 3 giraffe came walking across the bush in front of the camp. 2 of them necking, while the other just looked on. This was something special as my client wanted to see this from the start of the safari.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Safari Continuing On From 11th March Ending 13th March 2013

11 March 2013

Route: Nkambeni - Numbi Gate tar - Napi Road to skukuza - skukuza over low water bridge to Marula loop - back in the direction of skukuza - Napi road - Numbi gate

Animals seen were Impala, kudu, waterbuck, elephants at the start of Napi, cheetah on Napi boulders, elephant herd crossing the road.  5.1km's from H3 junction a leopard in the tree. After a break at skukuza. Found hippo and crocodile at low water bridge and two male lions on Marula loop. Back on Napi more elephant, impala and kudu. Sightings of rhino where also experienced.

After picking up more clients at Numbi Gate we went to Pretorouskop for lunch, and afterwards took a drive around circle road, Shabeni Kopies and Albasini road looking for buffalo, did not find any but got good sightings of baboon, impala, kudu, Klipspringer and hippo.

12 March 2013

Today we drove down Numbi gate road, Napi road, watergat and then onto Doispane and Albasini road back to Numbi gate as Verity was bringing Guests back.
Animals seen were elephants on Napi road as well as impala and zebra, nothing much was seen on watergat. Lions were found on Doispane 2.5km's from river road link. We also came across more elephant and rhino. Verity found buffalo for the guests between tourism control and the gate when she left the park.

Guests were picked up after their walk and we took the same route down Albasini and onto Doispane to skukuza getting rhino, zebra, impala, elephant and buffalo. After a lunch break we got a call from Mark about a leopard on Doispane, and as guests had not seen one, we decided to go and have a look. We found him at 7.5km's from river road link on Doispane. After enjoying the sighting, we made our way onto the Albasini and then down to Shithave dam before going into camp. All that was seen was baboon, hippo, impala and waterbuck.

13 March 2013

We took a drive today from Nkambeni - Numbi gate tar and down the Napi road and back to the gate to go through to Nelspruit as 2 guests were getting on the shuttle bus to return. All that was seen was elephant, impala, kudu.

Update On Rhino Poaching

South African National Parks


As the triennial Conference of Parties of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) draws to a close, the number of rhino poached in South Africa rose to 158 since the beginning of the year. In the Kruger National Park 116 rhino have been poached, while 13 have been poached in North West, 12 in Kwazulu-Na...tal, 9 in Mpumalanga and 8 in Limpopo. A total of 61 people have been arrested, 38 of them alleged poachers and three alleged couriers. In the past week two alleged poachers were arrested in the Kruger National Park. Nine were arrested at a game farm near Lephalale in Limpopo in connection with rhino poaching on March 10, the Limpopo conservation department confirmed. South Africa’s effort to combat Rhino poaching this week received further praise from numerous stakeholders at the 16th Conference of Parties of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), at an event showcasing the intentions of a recently-approved project funded by the Global Environment Fund. The project is aimed at intensifying enforcement efforts through DNA forensic management, the improvement of information sharing through interfaced technology use, as well as enhanced co-operation with other range, transit and consumer states. Delegates to COP16 in Bangkok, Thailand, congratulated the Department of Environmental Affairs for its initiatives to combat rhino poaching on the sidelines of the conference saying initiatives presently being undertaken in South Africa would enhance the global effort to fight all trans-boundary wildlife crimes. South Africa is the first country to receive funding from a UNEP-GEF project with potential to improve the effectiveness of efforts to combat wildlife crime in South Africa’s protected areas through the improvement of forensic-based technologies, data gathering and analysis, more efficient and safe data sharing systems, improved cooperation structures at regional, sub-regional and international level to support the detection of syndicate intentions and strengthen prosecution of those involved in rhino poaching and illegal trade of rhino horn.

Baby Elephant Nearly drowns in Addo Part 2

The mother looking for her baby in the water  

After finding the baby elephant mom guides it to the shallow waters 

With a little help from the rest of the family mom and her baby made it on dry land

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Baby Elephant Nearly drowns in Addo Part 1

Baby elephant cant get out and mommy tries everything to help her baby

Mommy tries to pull the helpless baby out

Mommy then decides to get in with her baby

Monday, March 11, 2013

On A 7 Day Safari With Mark Starting 8 March 2013

8 March 2013

Route: Numbi tar - Napi - into Skakuza

Not much to report at the moment. This afternoon it was extremely quiet with only general game of impala, water buck, kudu and 1 elephant bull at a natural water pan spraying himself with mud. We not pushed to see everything on the first afternoon of a 7 day safari, so we came into camp to enjoy an ice cold beer overlooking the sabi river. Guests very relaxed and enjoying the serenity of the African bush.

9 March 2013

Route: Skakuza - Tshokwane tar - Satara - S100 - Satara

After a cup of coffee, we drove north towards tshokwane where we had breakfast. The morning drive was relatively quiet. Some great sightings of hippo's in the sabie river close to the bridge. We stopped for Dwarf mongoose busy with their daily activities on the side of the road and watched them for a while. Busy little guys and great to watch them as they only come out once the cars have stopped driving by. We did however get a pair of mating lions 2.3km north of elephant pan but visuals weren't great as they were lying approximately 60m in. 1.3km past tshokwane picnic spot we got a journey of giraffe's (11) that was quiet awesome to see them so close to the road. Further to this the general game viewing was good right up to Satara. Fantastic sighting of 25 ostriches on the S100 road all just parading past our car. Magnificent elephant bulls standing on the road 1.3kms from our camp. Over all we had a great day with high expectations as to what tomorrow will provide.

10 March 2013

Route: Satara - H1-5 - Olifants - S93 - Letaba - H1-5 - S90 - Satara

All the way up to olifants and then onto Letaba we had numerous sightings of blue wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, ostrich and impala. Regular sightings throughout the day of these listed species. 2.2km north of S90 on H1-5 we got a massive elephant bull next to the road. 4.8km north of S90, we had a small herd (13)of elephants on the move. As the morning was cold and windy lots of animals stayed lying down to shelter themselves from the wind etc. Although lots of spoor of cats, nothing was spotted during the course of the day. Trust the guests will get them tonight on the night safari. On our return to camp we got 23 Ostrich crossing the S90 road together. Bird life was great, with varies specie spotted throughout the drive. Cats must be out tomorrow.

On Safari With Dean Starting 7 March 2013

7 March 2013

Route: Numbi Gate - Pretoriuskop - Napi road -H3 - Quagga Pan - into the camp

A slow day experienced with the only animals seen where a mating pair of lions 100 meters from napi boulders exit, impala and kudu between napi boulders and transport dam and some impalas and wharthog on the H3.

8 March 2013

Upon leaving the camp this morning we found a good buffalo bull on the camp access road, after watching him for a time, we made our way to Napi Road then in the direction of Skukuza getting more good sightings of buffalo, elephant, and rhino. After a break at skukuza, we made our way down to the Sabie river in search of hippos and crocodiles. We managed to find some on elloff street and then made our way down to the sabieclow level bridge and found a crocodile in the water. We made our way back up to the skukuza fourways, and got back onto napi as we made our way to Numbi gate to pick up more guests. After check in formalities, it was off to Pretoriuskop for lunch, before departing on an afternoon drive going down to shithave dam and napi boulders, before making our way to the camp in order for the guests to settle in before departing on their late afternoon / evening safari. Numerous good sightings were experienced during the day.

9 March 2013

Today after enjoying a good breakfast, we made our way onto napi road, and as it turned out to be very quiet, with only a couple of sightings of elephant and rhino as well as giraffe. We made our way in the direction of Skukuza going down watergate, where we found hippo and a cheetah lying in the river bed. After leaving watergate, we turned onto doispane and then Paul Kruger Gate road before going into skukuza for a break as the heat had already set in. After a good break, we made our way back down napi making our way onto the h3 going down as far as quagga pan, before turning around due to no animals been seen and going back in the direction of napi. We turned onto napi and made our way in the direction of transport dam, going down to see what we could find. A Great sighting of hippo as well as mating waterbuck were seen. We made our way back down napi in order to drop guests off returning to Johannesburg and picking up more that were starting their safari. We again made our way down to Pretoriuskop for lunch. After a well deserved lunch. It was out onto the albasini road and then doispane in the direction of watergate. All that was seen on these roads was elephant, rhino, buffalo, zebra and impala. We made our way onto watergate and after getting to the causeway, we came across the same cheetah lying in the river bed. After a good photo opportunity, we made our way in the direction of napi road and then onto Pretoriuskop as it was starting to rain. After dropping some clients off in Pretoriuskop camp, the rest of us made our way back to Nkambeni for the night and some well deserved rest, before going out again tomorrow morning to look further for some of the inhabitants of the Kruger National Park.

10 March 2013

The route was as follows today. This morning we drove out of camp down the Napi road getting buffalo and elephant, turned onto the h3 that was very quiet, we heard about lions on the s112, and went down and did not find them. We then turned around and went back to h3 and back up to Napi road. We Found more buffalo at Klipspringer Koppies and heard about a leopard close to that area we went down to see if we could find it and it was not long before he was walking close to the road in the long grass. After a good sighting we went back to Pretoriuskop for breakfast as the one guest staying over at the camp had not had anything to eat. After breakfast we left the park to meet Verity in Nelspruit who was dropping off clients and picked up the next ones to return. We then came back in and stopping at Pretoriuskop for lunch. After lunch made our way down Napi to the h3 junction and then turned back. Animals found were impala, elephant, kudu, zebra, warthog and the leopard from the morning, this time lying in the bush ten meters from my vehicle. On the way back more elephants, rhino and buffalo were seen.

11 March 2013

Today Verity is heading to the Kruger National Park to drop off more guests, keep watching for more updates on how the Safaris are going and what is being experienced.

Friday, March 8, 2013

One Brave Leopard By Chad Cocking In The Kruger National Park Continued

Hyena sniffing the Leopards Tail

Leopard and Hyena come face to face

The leopard managed to keep his nerve and the hyenas eventually lost interest, giving the youngster an opportunity to escape!

One Brave Leopard By Chad Cocking In The Kruger National Park

This young leopard was having a nap when the sound of crunching bones distracted him! The big cat went to investigate and found himself cornered by two hyenas.

What he found didn't leave him too impressed: two big hyenas who turned their attention on him. Although the leopard had the high ground, he wasn't completely out of reach, so he had to stand his ground

Hyenas cornering the leopard

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Safari Starting 23rd February Ending 26th February 2013

23rd February

Mark left early morning from Nkambeni with his guest after breakfast and this is how the day panned out:

Route: Napi - Eloff - Kruger gate road - Napi

4 different sightings of elephant bulls down the napi, distant visual of a herd off buffalo (approx 100). On napi boulders 1 lioness lying on the rock, 2 male lions walking down the road 900m past the flat rocks, 1 cheetah 900m past the flat rocks lay watching the lions walk past in the road. 1 lioness just before transport dam entrance, 3 massive male lions on experimental tar S114 just lying sleeping next to the road. 2 rhino running across the road. General game throughout the morning was great. Afternoon drive was rather quiet with just general game viewed and then returned to camp to watch some cricket.

24th February

Once again an early morning breakfast before departure from camp and the route travelled was as follows:

Route: Napi - H3 - S114 - Watergat - Doispan - Albeseni - back to camp

Very good elephant, buffalo and rhino sightings throughout the day. Got a pride of lions 300m before transport dam access road. 3 males 3 females and 5 cubs all in good health. Male leopard at klipspringer koppies. 1 lioness walking up from S112 towards napi. 1 male leopard 100m from H3 on the S114, 1 leopard cub up in a marola tree 2Kms from napi on Watergate. 10 wild dog on H3 1km before S114. 4 wild dog on biyamiti weir, of which the alpha male and female were mating. In general we have had 2 great days of sightings.

25th February

Enjoyed an early breakfast and then did a short drive as Mark had to have his guest back in Nelspruit by 09h00am so that he could be transferred back to Johannesburg.

26th February

Dean left Johannesburg at 07h00am after collecting his guests from a private residence in Sandton and started his day with arriving in Nelspruit before lunch to change over vehicles and then onto the camp of Pretoriuskop for lunch.  After lunch a drive was taken down Napi, to Kwagga Pan and then back to Nkambeni for the night.  The day was very warm so sightings were few and far between with only two elephants and a herd of Impala being seen in the heat of the afternoon.  We shall see what tomorrow will bring, but the  weather is once again a warm 36 degrees.

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Did You Known For The Day

#DidYouKnow - The curved black lines on the rump of the impala, together with the tail stripe, make a large letter 'M' = Fast food for lions (MacDonalds of the bush) ;)

Rhino Poachers in the Kruger Park

It has been a very busy weekend, the incursions continue relentlessly and our Rangers have had 4 seperate contacts with armed groups in 4 different sections of the park, all in a 36 hour period. In 3 incidents the poachers managed to evade arrest by being close to the boundary and making use of the darkness to make good on their escape. A final contact late yesterday afternoon resulted in 2 poachers being fatally wounded. A rifle, silencer & ammunition were recovered. No rhino were found dead during the incidents.