Poachers Update - Stolsnek 28/09/14 - In a combined SANParks and SAPS ground and air operation, rangers along with their K9 capability made contact with, and successfully arrested 3 suspected rhino poachers. During the incident, a hunting rifle, pistol, ammo and hunting equipment were recovered. Follow up investigations are underway.
Monday, September 29, 2014
Friday, September 26, 2014
24 September 2014
Another tour started today, so we had a lot of firsts. Our first buffalos were already welcoming us when we just entered the gates at Numbi. Three daggaboys looked up briefly and then resumed their grazing.
After checking in and a spot of lunch we set off for our first proper game drive. All our binoculars and cameras at the ready, we spotted our first elephants on camp road this time. Well, elephant... We could see its bum and some flapping ears, but he refused to turn around or come out of the bush at all. Hoping for some better sightings we continued.
Our third animal today was a family of reedbuck. Now all is burned it is good viewing of the animals that would normally hide. And the greens are already shining through at some places so lots of fresh veggies for them to eat. Then we saw two white rhinos standing in the distance, butt to butt, one in the shade and one in the sun, as well as a small herd of buffalos. Wow, three of the big five and reedbuck already, and still no impala!
After a sighting of female kudus crossing, we finally saw our first impalas. First a little group in the distance, hanging out with some zebras, then a lone male posing very nicely for pictures.
Close to Shitlhave Dam it got busy! We had a great sighting of a herd of elephants in the distance, a herd of aprrox 9 sable in the distance, but out in the open so good visual with binoculars, a herd of buffalo just leaving the dam and a couple of steenboks. A tree agama showed off his pretty colours on a tree, but when we stopped he hid away on the other side. The braver female just hung around on the ground and didn't shy away.
The herd of elephants that had just left the dam when we arrived gave us a great show of how to use a trunk. One of the older cows was showing us the tip and how to use it by sniffing the fresh grass and grabbing little plucks at the time. A little accacia was broken in little bits twig by twig by trunk and tusk working together and a nearby leafy tree with fresh greens was stripped clean of its leaves without damaging the thin branches. A great show worth lots of pictures!
Then at the dam we saw a sadlebilled stork with two youngsters, a woolly-necked stork and a grey heron sharing the little dam. The egyptian goose at the big dam must have been in a bad temper as nothing else wanted to share the dam with them! Just some waterbuck were looking on from afar.
Then the return journey gave us more zebras to look at, although still hidden in between the burned twigs that were just as high as they were, a mother white rhino with her calf that refused to be so close together they would fit into one picture, a duiker, an African harrier hawk flying off, a giraffe mother with a baby that decided to go the other way when mum disappeared into the bush, and a nice kudu bull that looked like a statue.
Not bad for a first afternoon drive! Happy Heritage Day everyone!!
25 September 2014
After last night's dinner, just when we had gone to bed, the bush went crazy. There were many sounds all around, like thicknees, crickets and a faraway call of a spotted eagle owl, when suddenly there was a lot of roaring. Unfamiliar with this specific roaring it kept us alert and settled between a cross of hippos and lions sound wise. Although some had thought it was their neighbor snoring loudly! But eyewitnesses told us in the morning it was actually a stand-off between hippos in the dam in front of the lodge. An intruding hippo was denied access to the dam, and loudly and aggressively told so.
In the end all of us had fallen asleep and started the morning afresh. After a full breakfast we set off to see what we could find today. On camp road, just outside the lodge, three giraffes were curiously looking at us. Two were babies and one a youngster, so there must have been at least two mums nearby. However, these we didn't see. We had seen yesterday that giraffe mums can wonder off quite far from their children, so we were not worried, we just enjoyed the sighting.
Some buffalos were also on camp road hiding in the leftover grass. The impalas and zebras were waiting for us on Numbi road, we took a loop around Shabeni. Here we saw our first klipspringers. The couple was walking on the rocks, never far away from each other.
Down Napi we spotted a couple of nervous kudus crossed the road in front at a run. A lovely great troop of baboons passed through the bush and crossed the road while feeding, playing and mating. Other sightings were: a tree full of grey louries, juvenile martial eagle, more klipspringers and giraffes, and some elephant bulls.
After our well-deserved break at Skukuza, where two warthogs were feeding next to the road, we had gotten a tip about a leopard at Ingwe Donga. So we drove down Doispane with our fingers crossed. Upon arrival at this donga however He had disappeared.
It had gotten warm now so the rest of the drive down Doispane and Albassini was pretty quiet with the animals hiding in the shade. We came across more zebras, kudus, impalas, warthogs, bateleurs, a lone male baboon and multiple giraffe sightings.
We did stop at Nyamundwa Dam where two fish eagles were sitting in trees on opposite sites of the dam. There must have been a fight in paradise! Two hippos were out of the water briefly and we saw some white breasted cormorants and blacksmith lapwings.
In the afternoon we split up, as some of us had just joined us and came on an afternoon drive and others went on a sundowner game drive. On the afternoon drive we started with a large herd of impalas that were joined by a couple of wildebeest on Numbi tar. Then down Circle Road it was busy with kudus as well as waterbucks and even some buffalo in the end. We came back on the tar when we were told about some lions up ahead. Upon arrival we saw two youngish male lions lying down. They still had their head up when we stopped the car, but soon after they plopped down completely and snoozed. After waiting for a while we did get lucky as one of them apparently was a bit uncomfortable. He got up, walked three or four paces and went to lie down behind a termite mount. When Robbie, the other guide, arrived at the scene we gave up our spot and drove back to the lodge.
The sundowner drive had, thanks to Nkambeni guide Clayton, a dream sundowner drive. Not only did they see the sunset with a drink in hand, and they saw the same lions as we had on the afternoon drive, but in addition they had also seen a leopard, buffalos, a white rhino, elephants (so the total big 5 on a sundowner, that is a first!) and to top it of a black mamba! Aren't we a lucky bunch!
More coming soon!!
23 September 2014
Today was the last day of the tour for some of our guests but as always we had time for one last drive. It's always nice to see one new species of mammal everyday and today we managed to get a look at cheetah. This one was hiding away to the left of a tree taking shade from what was already a very hot sun. It was in no mood to move much but every now and again it popped it's head up for us. When we weren't at the cheetah sighting we had plenty else to look at with many sightings of kudu, impala, giraffe and zebra. We also had a couple of nice rhino sightings and ellies. With the area around us mostly burnt we also saw lots and lots of steenbok and duiker. It was then time to say farewell to Sandra, Phillip and Railla who are either off home or continuing their travels around South Africa. Thanks for your company over the last few days, hope to see you again sometime.
After lunch it was time to head down to our new camp, we headed down to Berg-en-dal via voortrekker which was fairly quiet. We did see a nice group of ellies spread out over the valley as well as general game. Down the H3 we found more ellies, buffalo, giraffe, and general game as well as a nice hyena lying by her den. We took a trip down to Renosterpan which had plenty of bird life such as lapwings, hamerkops, black storks and thickness.
24 September 2014
The last day of the tour and we set off early from berg en dal up the H3. Unfortunately this road was fairly quiet this morning although we did find plenty of elephants along with buffalo, kudu, and impala We stopped at Skukuza for a bit of lunch, sitting overlooking the sable river, before we took a drive along elloff. Here we managed to get some good photos of a couple of Bushbuck, not always easy as they are often quick to take cover in the dense bush when spotted. Also along the river we found plenty of kudu, impala and hippos before we had to leave the park. After transferring to Nelspruit it was time to say bon voyage to Kate. It has been lovely having you on tour with us, enjoy the rest of your travels before you get home and hopefully we will see you again with us at Nhongo safaris.
More coming soon!!
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
16 September 2014
Today we set out with a magnificent sunrise coating the African bush! There is a road nearby called napi which is known for either brilliant sightings or nothing at all. When we had sighted elephant and buffalo by 6:30am I had a feeling Napi was going to cook! Sure as nuts we came across a pride of lions near the flat rocks and a male leopard 5m from the road. On route we also came across a herd of 30 sable antelope. The napi for today was absolutely brilliant!
On the tonight’s sunset drive my group became one step closer to seeing the magnificent 7 with a fantastic sighting of wild dogs! They also got magnificent lions, elephant, rhino, buffalo and honey badger.
It was a spectacular day to say the least!
17 September 2014
Today we set out with positive attitudes all around. My guests have had excellent luck so far. We picked up rhino, one herd of elephants and two big herds of buffalo. Just before transport dam turn off we caught a glimpse of a male leopard disappearing behind a rocky outcrop. Close by a female was spotted on a termite mound. After a brief stop for panoramic photos from matikinyani hill we set down towards waterhole road. Lone behold a young male leopard was spotted deep in some thick bush but good visuals! At the waterhole a friend of mind told me about a leopard lying on the dam wall. This was our best leopard sighting of the day as he was a majestic male and extremely relaxed! He spent so much time licking and cleaning himself and watching hornbills up above. To top it all a herd of elephant approached him and he didn’t even budge! Instead he got up and sneaked up towards the back end of the elephant herd. We watched this magnificent cat for over two hours and only got back to camp at 14:30.
18 September 2014
The past two days we again picked up the big 5 and then had some excitement dodging wild flames from out of control fires on the way back to camp in the evening. A total of 65 birds were spotted on this trip and some superb flight patterns observed of Tawny, Bateleur and Martial eagles flying above us.
19 September 2014
Today we saw excellent lion on the move and brilliant buffalo and elephant. However the sighting of the day was a pigmy kingfisher catching a fish in front of us! I said goodbye to my three guests today and they will no doubt be back soon!!
I met new guests this afternoon and we set out on a afternoon drive. We picked up some zebra, buffalo and giraffe before making our way back to camp.
20 September 2014
Today we set off in cooler weather however the first hour was very quiet. Then it started to pick up we spotted 4 of the big 5 including a herd of elephant with youngsters drinking for ages. Later we were lucky with two more sightings of leopard and a magnificent sable bull in a open area. Travelling back along albasini road we came across three huge elephant bulls stationed on the road.
We were happy with what we had achieved for the day.
21 September 2014
This morning we set out in freezing weather and saw the resident buffalo herd sleeping close together only 5m off the road. We proceeded on where we had an incredible encounter with 6 rhino surrounding our vehicle! A radio call came in directing us to a male leopard stretching out on a open sand bank. Traversing to Skukuza for lunch another leopard crossed the road in front of us! After an early lunch we took the sabie river road which was pumping with elephant everywhere. Another radio call came through and we arrived just in time to see a male impala being taken down by a male leopard. The views we got of the sighting were truly phenomenal. Close to lower sabie we picked up three male lions on the hunt in the river bed. After lunch on route back to camp the elephant and buffalo sightings continued to be epic! At the end we had a great sighting of our local ‘White buffalo”.
At the end one client said to me “Robbie this cant get better” my reply was “we will see what tomorrow brings”.
22 September 2014
Setting out today my two honeymooner guests asked me if things could get better than yesterday? My reply was “I really don’t know” but inside I knew it would be a tough act to follow.
Things were good in the morning with great sightings of elephant, buffalo, zebra, giraffe and kudu.
Leaving after lunch the action picked up with a rhino territory marking right in front of us. Once on river road our luck kicked in with a rare sighting of a male leopard and a female lion within 200m of each other having a face off! The lioness on closer observation was seen to be heavily pregnant. Leaving the face off we encountered a herd of about 40 elephant crossing the road as well as four brilliant rhino sightings and two huge pods of sunbathing hippos.
We stopped at Matikanyani hill for some honeymoon shots which were classic with perfect lighting.
Kruger had touched my two guest like nothing else could! Their cherry on top was a pride of lions rising up from the days sleep and becoming mobile next to our vehicle but all was not done when out of the blue two parent rhinos and their tiny baby crossed the road in front of us.
My guests were very pleased and said “I think this beats yesterday!!” I smiled and replied “I think you are right!”
More coming soon!!
20 September 2014
Today was the start of a new tour and as we headed down to Nkambeni the clouds opened up. Even so as we drove down camp road we found a couple of small groups of giraffe before getting to the lodge. After checking in and having a bit of lunch it was time for the first game drive. The sunset drive unfortunately was missing the sunset this evening but that didn't stop the drive from being a success. As well as more giraffe, impala, kudu, buffalo, elephant and a couple of rhino in the distance everyone was lucky enough to get to see a leopard. Out in the open the leopard just sat for about five minutes before disappearing into the grass giving everyone a chance for some great photos of this elusive big cat. Then back to the lodge for a nice warm meal.
21 September 2014
The next day we set off early and immediately found Waterbuck, elephant and impala on camp road. As we drove on we found plenty of zebra and a nice herd of buffalo in the distance. Then further along we found a lovely white rhino just eating next to the road. We hoped he would cross over in front of us but too many cars blocked his way. We carried on spotting a male sable in the bush but he quickly disappeared before we got any good photos. Further along we found the sightings of the day when we found seven rhino, two just to the side of the road and the other five lying right in the middle of the road. They were content there, when we decided to leave we had to turn back around and go back the way we had come. We carried on spotting more general game including several steenbok and duiker who are much easier to see on the burnt areas. We saw a couple more elephants, rhino and giraffe before heading back to the lodge.
unfortunately it was time to say goodbye to three. of our guests, Torben, Dietmar and Kerry. I hope you have enjoyed your safari. It was a very short trip but I think we saw plenty in the little time we had together. Safe travels back to Denmark.
As we drove into the lodge we found another sighting of buffalo and a lovely sighting of a male elephant who crossed the road in front of us giving us a little headshake to show who is boss in this part of town.
Meanwhile while we were on drive two of my guests had been on a bushwalk where they have the opportunity to see the bush up close. As well as learning about the scat and spoor of the animals they learn a little bit about the environment they go walking in. Chuck in some monkeys and a couple of rhino and it was a thoroughly enjoyed experience for the guests.
This afternoon we set off for a short drive around the area. We got a couple of brief glimpses of elephant and a nice herd of buffalo but mostly the afternoon consisted of getting more photo opportunities of zebra, kudu, Waterbuck and giraffe. We also had a very nice sighting of sable, initially hidden deep in the bush this fellow kindly started to walk towards the vehicle and then crossed the road just twenty meters in front of us. It's not often that you get the chance to see a sable so clearly.
22 September 2014
Leaving early we set off down numbi tar and then Napi where we had plenty of sightings of zebra, impala and kudu with a couple of duiker and steenbok thrown in for good measure. Then we found the seven rhino we had seen yesterday in the same area, not as close as before but still a nice sighting. Continuing on we found more general game including our first viewing of warthog before we came to the little hyena pup by the side of the road. Moving on we then found lions, initially it looked like just one female but then one by one four more appeared only to move into the bush. We stayed with them for a while hoping they would reappear but alas no luck. We then headed down the 112 onto the 114 and found a lovely herd of elephants by renosterkoppies.
We headed to Skukuza for a quick break before going around the river where we saw plenty of antelopes including first sightings, for this tour, of nyala and Bushbuck. We also found a couple of ground hornbills walking by the road. We stopped to have a look when one of them pounced into a bush and pulled out a snake. Suddenly the other bird grabbed the other end of the snake and a tug of snake pursued.
Further down the road we found another lion sighting, this one a female lying in the riverbed. Then on high level we had a pod of around twenty hippos sunbathing on the sand as well as buffalo, impala and nyala. Then it was time to turn around and head home. On the way back we saw a herd of ellies cross over the road in front of us, lots of general game, vervets and even a nice look at a slender mongoose.
The afternoon was much quieter than this morning but we still managed to spot ellies, rhino, buffalo as well as Waterbuck, zebra, kudu, impala and giraffe.
More coming soon!!