Monday, January 28, 2013

Safari Starting 25th January Ending 28th January

25th January – Today Dean collected his guests from OR Tambo Airport from the Munich flight and then started making his way down to Nelspruit and the Kruger National Park.  They stopped off at Pretoriuskop for lunch before embarking on an afternoon game drive before making their way to Nkambeni for the evening.  All that was see on the afternoon drive were Elephant, Rhino , Impala and Kudu.

26th January – This morning after an early breakfast the following route was followed:  Nkambeni, Albasini, Doispane, Paul Kruger Gate Road, Napi to the H3 and back on the same route due to road closures.
Sightings along the way were Buffalo, Zebra, Elephants , Rhino, just past Nyamundwa Dam we got seventeen Wild Dogs running in the road.  After hearing a radio message of a leopard on the junction of River Road Link and Doispane, we decided to make our way in that direction, when we got to the Kopje we found her and her cubs in a hole as that is where her cubs had been born.  We also got good sightings of Giraffe and more elephant before making our way back to camp for lunch passing by the female Leopard again with her cubs.  This time the female was lying on top of the rock with great photos being taken of her and the meowling of the tiny cubs in the hole being heard.
After an afternoon rest we went out again on an afternoon drive with sightings of general game before guests were placed on a sunset drive from Numbi Gate returning to camp at 20h00pm.


27th January – After breakfast the day was a much better game viewing day with Lions on a Buffalo kill on the S112 but due to the long grass the sighting was not that brilliant.  Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo were also seen on the morning drive.  We made our way to Skukuza for a coffee break before making our way down Eloff Street where we found another Leopard sitting at the bottom of a Jackalberry tree and then proceeded to walk along the road towards Skukuza .  Sightings of Hippo , and more buffalo ere also seen along the way.  Lunch was enjoyed at Skukuza camp before we started on our way back to camp with more sightings of Rhino, Elephant and general game.  The afternoon was spent in camp with dinner being in the restaurant at 19h00m.

28th January-  This morning only general game was seen on the morning drive before we departed from the Kruger National Park and started making our way back to Johannesburg.  Tomorrow we depart on another Safari from Johannesburg with guests being collected from the Genesis Hotel in Fairmont.  Lets see what the next couple of days have to offer!  Till then ........................

Safari Starting 20th January Ending 23rd January

20th January – Route:  Numbi Gate to Pretoriuskop for lunch- Napi to the Broken road one kilometre past Transport Dam - back to Camp.
Dean picked up our clients at OR Tambo International airport and then headed for the Kruger National Park going through Numbi Gate. We stopped off at Pretoriuskop Camp for some lunch before heading out to see what the afternoon had to bring.   Sightings for the day were five sightings of elephant, kudu, impala, zebra, buffalo near the Napi trails camp, wild dog on the Napi boulders road and rhino. We then headed to the Camp of Nkambeni for the night.

21st January – Route: Nkambeni - Napi - Transport Dam
After  a  good breakfast we headed out to see what we could find. Sightings for the morning were   elephant, impala, buffalo and rhino. We then made a stop at Pretoriuskop Camp for a little break to freshen up before we headed out to Napi and shithave Dam where we saw waterbuck and a lot of bird species. We then slowly made our way to Numbi Gate as some of the clients were leaving us.
After lunch  we took a drive down Shabeni link to Albasini and back as well as doing shabeni loop, all we found were baboon, waterbuck, impala and kudu.

22nd January – Route: Nkambeni – Albasini – doispane - Paul Kruger Gate Road to Skukuza. 

We stopped off at Skukuza for a bit of a break before driving down Eloff Street and over the high water bridge and then on to Mahle Mahle Dam and back to Skukuza for lunch.  After lunch we then returned to Nkambeni  via Doispane.  Sightings for the day were Elephant, Cheetah, Buffalo, Impala, Kudu, Zebra, Wildebeest and Rhino.  A pretty poor day experienced with alot of road closures.

23rd January -  Our last day with guests was as follows:  Early morning breakfast at Nkambeni before going on a drive up to Transport Dam and back due to the bridge being destroyed just after Transport Dam.  Only sightings before departure were  a herd of Zebra and Impala.  We departed from Kruger at 10h00am and made our way back to Johannesburg.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Safari Starting 22nd January Ending 24th January

22nd January - Route: Numbi  Gate - Napi - Back To Camp
After arriving at the park with the new clients, we were informed that due to the rain the only road open was Napi. This to had been partially washed away, in the same place as last year. As we travelled along it, it was evident that huge amounts of rain had fallen and that many natural pools had formed deeper in the bush. General game viewing was pleasant this afternoon,  with a number of Giraffe, Water Buck, Warthog, Kudu, Zebra and Grey Duiker seen. Many of these were a distance from the road. On Napi about 1.5km from Voortrekker link a lone elephant bull (sighted regularly along this stretch of road). A crash of rhino was also seen on our afternoon drive. Just before entering camp, we managed to spot a male buffalo some distance away.

23rd January - Route: Albaseni - Doispan - Eloff - Tshokwane Tar - Doispan - Albaseni -
Back To Camp


We were informed that the Albaseni road had been opened, allowing access to much more game viewing area, than the previous days. Started the day off well, meeting up with a herd of buffalo 2.2km from Mestal Dam. At  4km from Shabeni link road an elephant bull in musth was spotted by one of the guests. Along Doispan, our general game viewing was much better than the previous.  Animals were right on the road and our guests could take really good photos. On our way out from Skakuza I was informed about a male leopard at Kruger tablets. We took a slow drive up and was fortunate to find the animal still lying in the shade. On our return along Doispan late afternoon, we found 17 wild dog lying 10m off the road in some shade. While watching the dogs, a herd of elephant arrived and was somewhat surprised by the dogs presence. After stampeding, the dogs took a run for it and all elephant moved on. Many different rhino  sightings during the day was also experienced.

24th January - Route: Numbi Tar - Napi - Return To Nelspruit.

In general, it was rather quiet on this run but just before we decided to turn the car around and head for Nelspruit, we found a cheetah lying in the road, approx 2km before Transport Dam access road. As she got up, a herd of Impala caught her eye and the hunt was on. Although we stayed with her for a good 25min, she eventually gave up the hunt and just lay an relaxed, most probably  waiting for a better opportunity to present itself. That was us for the tour and as we headed back to Nelspruit, we were thankful for the unique sightings experienced since our arrival.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Feedback From Our Clients Dorothy And Buz Who Were On Safari With Us

Hi Verity,

Thanks so much for the email, I spoke to them about 3 hours ago and they both raved about the safari, said they saw everything and more and that Mark was exceptional, knew everything and more and was very entertaining!

They had an absolute ball and I can't thank you all enough for your communication/ handling of the situation throughout the period between booking and them actually travelling.

They said that the downtime during the rain was perfect for them ( they are getting old!! ) so I hope mark didn't take offence to them deciding to stay in!

My husband and I have done safaris from Kenya to Botswana and everything in between but are really looking forward to coming to do Kruger with you one day in the future.

Thanks again for everything :)

Kind regards,

Monday, January 21, 2013

On Safari In The Flooded Kruger National Park

18th January:

Today Mark  had a very quiet day of game viewing, and think it was due to the sudden change in weather conditions.
Morning Route:  Albaseni - Phabeni gate - Albaseni - back to camp

At mestal dam Mark got a large herd of buffalo (app 100) all drinking water.  Great sighting as the guests we  have now on Safari haven't seen any since  been on trip with Mark. Just before shabeni link Mark got a massive elephant bull in full musth on the road. Although in full musth he was very relaxed with our presence. The usual general game sightings included: water buck, warthog, kudu,  rheedbuck, zebra and giraffe. Mark made his way back to Nkambeni for lunch  and also to check on our gentleman who had been sick and returned to  Nkambeni from Medi Clinic.  Fortunately he was feeling alot better and was  able to join the group on the afternoon drive and the night safari.

Afternoon Route:   Napi - Napi Boulders - Napi - back to camp
Spectacular sighting of hippo's at shitlhave dam. Waterbuck on access road to dam. Further to this not much. Guests out on sundown drive, and hopefully they get to see some good things  tonight. Having said that, my eye's are like new york road map's with very little  sleep had. With good rest, will be back on form and bright eyed and bushy  tailed by tomorrow.  Lets see what is in store for us as the heavens have  opened for the weekend!

19 January:
Morning Drive:   Route: Napi – Shithave – Napi
After Breakfast we headed out on our drive starting down Napi road sightings for the day were 3 Elephant bulls 1km from Numbi Gate all standing under a marola tree and 4 Waterbuck on the access road to Shithave. That was all we found this morning due to flooding and heavy rains.

Afternoon Swim:   Route:  Tent  - Bar – Tent
Due to Heavy Rain Clients decided to stay in the Camp for the afternoon.
Mark then decided to have a joke and saw a herd of octopus about 3m from the safari rubber duck, 147 Rain Frogs and a brilliant sighting of a school of tiger fish 10m from the bar.

20 January:
Today Dean Enters the park and Mark departs.
Route Travelled:   Numbi Gate – Pretoriuskop – Napi – 1km past Transport Dam – Camp
After entering the flooded Kruger National Park we made our way to Pretoriuskop Camp for some lunch, we then got on the road to see what we could find. Sightings for the day were 5 sightings of elephant, Kudu, Impala, Zebra, buffalo, Wild dogs and Rhino.  After a very rainy day we headed for the camp for the evening.

Kruger Park Floods 2013 by Latest Sightings Kruger

Bridge on H12 near Skukuza 
Crocodile Bridge
Bridge on H1-3 from Satara to Tshokwane



Friday, January 18, 2013

On Safari with Mark 17 January 2013


17th January  -  Morning drive
Route:  Albaseni - shabeni loop - circle road - nkambeni
A very quiet morning was experienced this morning with 2 herds of elephant  on shabeni loop. Great sightings of some Kudu bulls and a troop of chackma  baboons playing on the rocks.  We returned to camp for lunch and also to  check on our sick man.  We departed once again in the afternoon for a drive,  still with one guest being man down with gastro. The Route driven was napi - H3 - S112 - S114 - napi - back to nkambeni. The first half of napi was quiet going north and coming back down south with  very little seen. On the H3 just before the S112 junction we picked up a mating set of lions.  We spent a good 30min with them. At Renoster koppies we picked up the  3 lionesses that were hunting late  yesterday afternoon. They must  of been successful as all of them were  panting heavily, with very full bellies. Brilliant rhino sighting with a crash all lying in a mud bath.

What a night was had by us all!  Mark ended up calling the ambulance and our  guest was taken to Medi Clinic in Nelspruit to be placed on a drip.  From  mid-night they said he could be discharged, but this is Africa with the  Kruger being on lockdown for the night so no getting in or out!  Fortunately  the hospital gave them a bed for the night and we were able to arrange a  transfer for them back to Nkambeni at 07h00am this morning.  Mark and his  other guests have departed on a morning drive and will return later to keep  you updated on sightings and the state of our patient who is now resting  comfortably with his wife at the
camp.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Safari Starting The 11th January 2013


Safari Starting the 11th  January 2013

11 January – Dean left Satara at 06h00am and made his way first down the Orpen Road to the dam where they found a good herd of about 800 buffalo and a pod of 10 Hippo and our beautiful Rhino drinking water.  After taking in this sighting they made their way on towards Tshokwane tar road and on to Tshokwane for breakfast.  Game viewing was slow due to the rain and wind, but we still managed to find impala, giraffe, waterbuck, rhino, elephant and buffalo along the way before breakfast.  Just before Tshokwane things changed with the sighting of a Cheetah female walking beside the road looking at a herd of impala, it was not long before she was off after them, but it turned out a very half hearted effort and went off empty handed.  After breakfast at Tshokwane, it was back onto the road.  We turned onto the H10 and made our way down to the camp of Lower Sabie.  Sightings were few with a couple of elephants, and Ostriches seen.  When we got to the low water bridge over the Sabie River, we came across a crocodile busy hunting a Marabou Stork, after seeing him catch it, he made his way to the edge of the river to eat it.  The guests managed to get some good action shots.  We then made our way to Lower Sabie for a break.

We then left and made our way down Eloff to Skukuza for lunch.  Things were going along nicely with sightings of Elephant and Hippo.  Between the entrance of Echo loop  and the exit of Delta loop, what looked like a Cheetah moving quickly across the road.  We sped up to see what it was and came across a leopard sitting looking at a sickle bush, he kept looking at us and then back at the bush, only to be met by a lot of noise and screeching of something being killed.  This ended up being a vervet monkey.  He then took his kill and moved away into the bush.  The guests and guide managed to get some good photos of this action.  Soon it was off again along Eloff to Skukuza after also seeing a good sighting of a Black Rhino along the way.  We only managed to get to Skukuza by 14h30 and then departed at 15h30pm for the camp of Pretoriuskop for the evening.

12 January – This morning being the guests last morning we travelled down Napi to Transport dam and back to Pretoriuskop for breakfast and got to see 7 wild dogs, elephant, rhino.  Guests then departed back to Johannesburg with Verity from Nelspruit and Dean then returned to Kruger with new guests.  We had lunch at Pretoriuksop and did a bit of an afternoon drive with sightings of general game before going on to Nkambeni for the evening.

13th January – From Nkambeni this morning we did a bit of a drive down Napi to Quagga Pan with sightings of Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Impala and Kudu.  After a tea stop at Skukuza we went on to Bravo loop to see the Lions 200metres from the entrance and then back to Skukuza and down the Paul Kruger Gate road to see two leopards, one 50metres past Doispane on the right hand side and then the next 1.9km further on the left hand side with a kill in the tree.  We turned back onto Doispane and started on our way back towards Albasini and the Numbi Gate to await our next two guests who were arriving from Johannesburg.  They did get lost and only made it to the gate at 14h30pm.  The afternoon drive was a bit quiet.

14th January – This morning Dean handed over the guests to Mark as he had to get back to Johannesburg in order to get ready for our group of  12 Harvard students who we coming in early on the 15th January for one night.  On Marks drive not much was sighted in the morning as he had to hand over guests to Verity at 12 and receive some new guests from America who were on Honeymoon.  After lunch the Indian guests departing, all that was sighted were elephant we then made our way to Deans sighting of the Leopard with a kill which was an awesome sighting of him lying on a branch 10 metres from the road.  On the way back down Doispane towards camp we got sightings of general game.  5km down Albesini we came across a large elephant bull in musth.  He was very calm and relaxed and didn’t pay much attention to us as he crossed the road.  We made our way back to camp for the evening and hope to show our guests some lions before our next group arrives in the morning.

15th January -  The flood gates have opened with rain and more rain falling.  Our Harvard students arrived and were then taken first to camp for check in and lunch before going out on our afternoon drive.  General game was spotted in the afternoon and then the heavens opened  once again.  We ended up going to camp early as it was raining so hard.  Some of the students then went on a night drive in the rain and others decided the rain was too much for them and decided to stay in camp.

16th January -  As we went down Napi we came across a Bull Elephant and then at the Boulders exit a fleeting glimpse of a serval.  We then got 6 Hyena ‘s past transport dam at their den.  Dean then called Mark on the radio about 3 male lions on a rock enjoying daylight after the storm the night before.  The sighting was not very good as they were quite far off the road.  General game sightings were great with sightings of buffalo as well. We then started off back to Numbi gate as our Harvard students were departing back to Johannesburg Airport and Verity  brought in new guests. Our six guests left in the park with Mark then enjoyed lunch at the camp before we departed on our afternoon game drive.  We braved Voortrekker and came across good elephant with one rocking a Maroela tree knocking off some fruit.  1km  before Biyamiti loop we had a male Leopard walk out onto the road and we followed him for a while and watched him stalk some Impala and it was not a successful hunt as they spotted him and took off.  On the S112 we were fortunate enough to come across three lionesses on the road also going after impala but they were not able to catch one.  General game sighting were awesome with views of fantastic Giraffe in the road.  All we need now is some Buffalo and guests have seen it all. 

That is all for now and we shall give you updates again tomorrow.  The weather is changing and we believe the next few days are going to have very heavy downpours so not sure on how good the sightings will be and of course the flooding.  We shall keep you updated as we are in the park till the 28th January 2013!

Friday, January 11, 2013

On Safari With Dean And Mark Starting the 5th January 2013


5th January 2013:  Our first safari for 2013!  Guests were collected by Dean from the Town Lodge close to the Airport and transferred to Neslpruit to meet up with Mark.  Guests entered the park through Numbi Gate and made their way to Skukuza for lunch.  En-route down Napi a small herd of Buffalo were sighted just before  the Voortrekker link on Napi, two elephant bulls on the road just past boulders entrance and a couple of White Rhino along the way to Skukuza.  There were no cat sightings at all for the entire day.  After lunch we made our way back to Nkambeni for check in with just general game sightings.

6th January 2013:  We departed Nkambeni after breakfast and stayed in the general area, as Verity was bringing in more guests at 12h00pm.  Once again the day was relatively quiet with no cat sightings and none been reported for the whole day by any other vehicles.  We came across a herd of approximately 40 elephant on the River link road with a lot of individual bulls also seen.  Most of them were throwing sand or mud on themselves for protection as it was going to be a warm day.  We also came across a dazzle of Zebra with a very young foal.  On our way towards Nkambeni via Albasini we came across a female lions spoor but no lioness was found as the grass has grown immensely.  On the late afternoon drive 7 large male Kudus were seen.  We made our way back to camp after an exhausting hot day.

7th January 2013:  We departed camp once again on the hunt for some cats, and Dean collected his guests in Johannesburg from the Radisson Blu hotel and made his way to the Kruger to join up with us.  We both had lunch at Pretoriuskop before departing on the afternoon drive with our perspective clients.  After lunch we took a drive down Napi where we got some dwarf mongooses, just before Shithave Dam we got seven Sable Antelope and awesome sight!, elephant , Impala, Kudu .  We returned to Nkambeni late afternoon .

8th January 2013:  After breakfast, Mark and his group left down Napi and Dean followed with his guests.  Once again we came across the little dwarf mongooses on Napi as well as Impala and Zebra.  After a tea break at Skukuza we continued on towards the Historical site and came across a pack of 9 wild dogs, we carried onto the H2 as we had heard there were some lions two kilometres before Quagga Pan, we found the lions lying 10 metres off the road this made for a great days sighting.  We then journeyed back towards the Paul Kruger Gate road and onto Doispane where there were more elephants to be seen as well as a herd of 700 buffalo near Albasini  and then all was quiet as  we made our way to camp for a break while meeting up with Verity to deliver more guests.  The late afternoon drive was relatively quiet with sightings of general game before we made our way back to camp for the evening.

9th January 2013:  After leaving Mark and his guests Dean took his four and started making his way straight to Skukuza and then Tshokwane and on to Satara.  General game was spotted as well as the usual sightings of Rhino, Elephant, Giraffe, Waterbuck.  After we all had a break at Skukuza it was onward towards the low water bridge toward Lower Sabi and to Tshokwane for lunch.  On the way we got a Martial Eagle busy enjoying lunch as he had caught a banded mongoose.  After lunch at Thokwane and bidding Mark a farewell as he was going on to Lower Sabi and Dean was going on to Satara, Dean got twelve lions resting near Nzamanzi Dam and at the Dam itself Buffalo, Elephant, Hippo and Crocodile.  Along the way there was a lot of general game.  Dean arrived at Satara at 15h00pm and clients decided they were exhausted with the temperature reaching 43 degrees and enjoyed the pool at Satara for the afternoon. Mark continued his journey down the H10, eloff, Napi and back to camp with sightings of Elephants, Sable and a Leopard up a Maroela tree near Quagga Pan, it was then back to camp for a ice cold beer!

10th January 2013:  Dean left Satara early before the heat of the day and travelled the H100 and then onto the S41 and H6 before returning to Satara for breakfast, sightings were good with loads of Impala, Herds of Elephant and a Cheetah lying under a tree as well as a male Lion and cubs getting chased by two Bull Elephants .  After breakfast Dean took a drive to Olifants camp with sightings of general game , some White Storks, Vultures.  They returned to camp early as the heat was too much and guests were going on a Night Drive.  Mark also went out early as he had four guests departing back to Johannesburg and two more guests arriving at 12h00pm.  Sightings of elephants and one male Lion and two Lionesses near Renosterkoppies,  as well as Elephants having a swim in Nyamundwa Dam.  Most of the animals were looking for shade in the afternoon, but we will see what tomorrow brings and hopefully we will pickup a Lion or two.  Dean and his four guests were making their way from Satara back to Pretoriuskop for the night as all six guests return to Johannesburg tomorrow and new guests arrive!

We shall wait for the next report with the guests arriving tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Safari Starting 26th December Ending 30th December 2012

26th December – Dean collected 6 guests from Balalaika Hotel in Sandton and Verity collected 6 guests from OR Tambo Airport they were a family enjoying a holiday in South Africa.  On arrival in Nelspruit Dean collected his open safari vehicle and headed towards Numbi Gate. Verity handed over her guests to Mark who also headed for Numbi Gate. Guides and guests then made their way to Pretoriuskop for lunch they then departed down Napi to Shithave Dam, Napi Boulders, Transport Dam then back down Napi to camp. Sightings for the day were Kudu, Impala, Giraffe, Elephant, Waterbuck, Hippo, Rhino as well as a white Heron. We then made our way to Nkambeni Camp for Check in.

27th December – After breakfast we parted Nkambeni down Albasini, Doispane then into Skukuza Camp for a break. We then made our way back to Nkambeni for lunch as new guests were joining us. We left Nkambeni  at 14h00 and drove down Napi to Shithave Dam then onto Napi boulders loop back onto Voortrekker Road and onto Circle road to Manugu koppies and back up Albasini towards camp. Animal sightings were hard due to the hot weather and too many people in the park over the Christmas period. All in all a slow days animal sightings with general game, Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino, Lion and crocodile.
28th December – This morning’s drive was a short drive as 12 of our guests were leaving us. 6 were departing from Nelspruit to Mozambique and the other family of 6 were returning to Johannesburg and flying the next day onto Cape Town.   Mark was left with 6 guests up till the 30th all were Honeymoon couples enjoying a three or four day safari.

 29th December -  Dean met up with his 8 new guests at 13h30 at Numbi Gate. They started the game drive as check in procedures were completed it was not long till they got their first sighting after turning onto Napi they got sightings of Elephant, Waterbuck, Impala, Buffalo, Rhino as well as another sighting of Elephant. They then turned onto the H3 after hearing of a sighting of Lions just past the S112. About 4m before the S112 they found 2 Female Lions lying in the river line with 9 of their cubs playing around in the river line. We continued past and came across 2 Male Lions in the next river line sleeping however 1 of the males came out to see what was going on then proceeded to lie in the road. Great sightings were enjoyed by everyone. As it was mid afternoon we decided to go down the S112 to have a break at Skukuza Camp. Upon reaching the S112 and S114 Junction we found a Leopard on the rock under a tree sleeping. After enjoying the sighting we made our way back to Nkambeni with sightings of Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo along the way. Another great day in the African wilderness.
30th December – The next morning it was up early. After breakfast we made our way down Napi stopping off at Shithave Dam past Napi Boulders then onto Transport Dam. The mornings game viewing was very slow due to large numbers of South Africans visiting the park. It was also a very hot day but we managed to see general game as well as Elephant, Rhino, Hippo and baboons. We made a short stop at Pretoriuskop Camp before driving guests to Numbi Gate to collect their car so they could continue on their travels to Wilderness Lodge on the Drakensberg Escapement. Dean brought 4 guests back to Johannesburg in order for them to fly to Cape Town. All staff are now taking a break before the next safari starts on the 5th January 2013.