Thursday, October 2, 2014

On safari With Curtis From 27 September 2014

27 September 2014

The start of a new tour and after picking up the guests from Kmia airport we headed straight down to the Kruger National Park. After settling in we went on our first game drive of this tour. We got our first sightings of plenty of game such as impala, Waterbuck, zebra, giraffe and kudu. We also spotted a duiker deep in the bush. Although two of the guests couldn't see it at all. Not to worry though as after a couple of days practice they will have no trouble spotting such things.
We also had a sighting of two white rhino in the distance and good close sightings of buffalo and elephants.
Overall not a bad start to this tour!!!

28 September 2014
This morning we set off down camp road and found a couple of elephants in the distance before finding one much closer to the road. We passed through numbi gate and found zebra and wildebeest grazing on the new grass. We turned onto Shabeni link when we heard about a possible leopard sighting so we decided to head in that direction hoping that the leopard will still be there when we arrived. Along the way we found plenty more zebra, impala and kudu as well as quite a few sightings of giraffe. We then came upon a car and looking to our left we saw a couple of warthog in the grass when suddenly I noticed movement. Looking further ahead I saw a hyena standing watching the warthog. The hyena moved off into the bush a little and then reappeared. A nearby giraffe then noticed this and decided the best thing to do was to run off. We moved off once the hyena had disappeared finding plenty more game along the road. Along Doispane we found plenty of elephants. We then came to the leopard sighting, we quickly located a half eaten impala lying in a fallen tree but alas no leopard. We spent some time looking for any movement which may have given away the leopard but no luck.
Eventually we admitted defeat and moved off and drove back to the lodge, but not before we had another lovely sighting of a big male white rhino just a few metres from the car.
This afternoon it was time for the sunset drive, unfortunately today has been a cold overcast day so no sunset. But this doesn't stop it from being fun. After a quick stop for a tot of amarula it's then time to get the spotlight out and try to find the animals in the dark. This evening may have been missing the sunset but it wasn't missing the animals. Lots of game was seen such as kudu, impala, zebra and giraffe but also buffalo, elephant, rhino and right at the end a female leopard sat right next to the road.
A great evenings sightings making up for the cold and wet weather!!!

29 September 2014
This morning we woke to the sound of rain splattering on our tents, so after some breakfast and the guests wrapping themselves up with blankets, putting on their ponchos we set off on our drive. The first part of the morning was fairly quiet and although we saw rhino, buffalo and elephant they were from a distance and in the bush. We did spot a nice hyena on the way but again it scurried into the bush. After a break at Afsaals we set off again when we came across a leopard happily lying up in a marula tree. We watched for a while getting the occasional head popping up. As we began to leave the sighting we noticed a herd of ellies who were heading straight towards the leopard so we quickly turned around and positioned the car and waited. We were treated to not only elephants all around but they then crossed the road in front of us, if that wasn't enough they moved straight towards the tree with the leopard in. They went right up to the tree and stood at the base of the tree smelling the ground but didn't realize that just a couple of meters above them was the leopard.
We then stopped at berg en dal for lunch before setting off again. The afternoon was completely different to the start of the day as we had sighting after sighting of giraffe and elephant close to the road. Not to mention two huge buffalo herds crossing the road, both herds in the hundreds. We also saw about twenty rhino on the way back, some from a distance but three sightings very close to the road. We then got a message from Karen about a second leopard which we went to. Luckily this leopard was in no mood to move and was comfortably lying on a rock when we got there. Not even the sound of engines or squeaking brakes was going to move this feline. After that we had to head back to the lodge but not before finding a second hyena, monkies, of course impala, steenbok, duiker, zebra and four different troupes of baboon walking along the road. Just as we got to the lodge we found another herd of buffalo including the famous white one.

30 September 2014
After the success of the last couple of days we were able to spend today looking for the stuff we had yet to see. We drove past countless sightings of general game as well as buffalo and rhino stopping for a couple of nice large male ellies standing close to the road. Then we found a coalition of three cheetah. Walking parallel to the road. As we followed them they moved closer to us stopping and climbing onto a termite mound. They sniffed around the base of a tree before scent marking the tree. We were lucky enough to spend half an hour before they moved off into the bush. We moved off heading to Skukuza for a coffee break before taking a drive along the river. 
Straight away we found herds of ellie in the riverbed as well as giraffe and buffalo. On high level we found the first of many huge pods of hippos sunbathing on the sand. After high level sightings dried up until we got close to lower sabie where we found four adolescent male lions, about two years old as their mane represented the very fashionable mohawk style.
Again we spent a good amount of time watching as they switched between walking and resting in the river bed.
After lunch we headed back home, stopping at sunset dam where the hippos sunbathed, a couple of crocs doing the same and the waterbirds feeding. By this time the lions had disappeared but just a little after we found a leopard up in a tree. The visual was hard with so many branches in the way but still it was good to see yet another cat on this tour. Moving on we found loads of ellies in the river, far to many to stop for!!!  We had first looks at Nyala and Bushbuck for this tour as well as a rock monitor lizard and fish eagles and bataleurs flying around. Back on Napi we found the resident klipspringer sat on his rock and then came upon the three cheetahs again. Close to the road just chilling without a care in the world we sat with them for another twenty minutes before time forced us to leave. We just had time to head down Shithave dam where we found three ellies, one on the edge of the water and two fully submerged in the water. We watched as they played around before both got out and moved on.
A very long, hot but incredibly enjoyable day for everyone on the truck.

1 October 2014
This morning was unfortunately the last drive for some of the guests. We set off out down Nhapi, down to Transport dam and back. On the way we found our first blue wildebeest of this tour and then found a second herd which was grazing with a herd of zebra. Passing by herds of impala and kudu we stopped at shithave dam where there were Waterbuck having a drink. Transport dam was much busier than yesterday with a sunbathing Croc over the far side, and Waterbuck, kudu and impala all coming down to drink. We also found many birds including lapwings, jacanas, hornbills, herons and geese to name just a few. On the way back we spotted more general game as well as a male elephant by the road.
It was then time to say goodbye to four of my guests. Laura and Fiona, Adam and Holly, you have made this tour a pleasure, we have had such good luck with all the sightings and I wish you safe travels and hope you have lots of happy memories of your time with Nhongo
This afternoon we set out for a short drive just around the local roads where we had more opportunities to get a few more photos. Along the way we had sightings of buffalo, ellies, giraffe, zebra, reedbuck, vervets, baboons, kudu, Waterbuck, warthog, steenbok, duiker and of course impala.
More coming soon!

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