Tuesday, November 18, 2014

On Safari With Curtis from 14 November 2014

14 November 2014

The start of a new tour and after picking up the first new guests from Kmia we headed down to Nkambeni lodge close to Numbi gate. Everyone got settled in and spent a while watching the hippos down at the dam before it was time for the first game drive. This was the sundowner evening drive which gives the guests the opportunity to experience Kruger in the quiet of the evening and use the spotlight as night falls. However before this happens they have the chance for a short drive before stopping for a little Amarula and maybe a beautiful African sunset before using the spotlight. Tonight was enjoyed by the guests and they managed to view impala, zebra, kudu, buffalo and rhino on the drive. A good start to their safari.

15 November 2014

This morning a different experience as the guests went on a bush walk. Starting from camp they walked into the bush exploring all the sounds and sights of Kruger from a much different perspective than in the car. Learning about the scat of the animals and learning some basic tracking skills as well as a few trees, flowers and insects a bushwalk is a wonderfully enjoyable experience.

While my guests were on their walk I went and collected six more guests who are joining us and let them get settled into the lodge.

With everyone settled in and my first two guests back from the walk we went for our first proper game drive this afternoon.

As we set off along camp road our first animal was the tiny little common duiker who quickly vanished into the bush. We then drove along Numbi tar seeing kudu and then impala before we turned onto Napi. Here we found a herd of elephants some way off in the distance before finding two males standing next to the road. We were able to sit and watch for sometime before moving off. We then had a couple of rhino sightings which were unfortunately not great as the rhinos were well hidden by the scrub. Further along we came to the hyena den but with no luck as it seemed all the hyenas were tucked up safely in their den. Moving on we came across more impala, kudu and elephant before we found our first giraffe, a lone bull initially who was then joined by a female companion. We then took a turn up to matekanyane view point giving everyone a great chance to really appreciate the size of the Kruger and also get some great scenic photos. It was then time to head back to camp and if the first half of the drive had been quiet the second certainly wasn't. First two rhino standing at the side of the road, we were as startled as they to begin with and then even more so as four more rhino ran from the bushes to join them before all of them scampered off back into cover. Next up a herd of zebra, maybe as many as thirty, all together before finding a couple of steenbok along with a warthog. We then got back to the hyena den and this time were in luck as we spotted a youngster along with its babysitter further back lying in the grass. Further along a little family of elephants close to the road, along with a teenage male who looked like he was in the mood for some love but the females, most of them with youngsters, were not in the mood and soon put him in his place. Two more sightings of rhino along the way and also giraffe before we came to the sighting everyone was hoping for. A leopard up in a tree with a dead impala it had caught. To start it was just chilling out but then decided to eat some more and then we heard it snarl and hiss as it ate. Probably a little warning to the cars that this was his meal. Time was running out fast and we hurried on our way coming across more giraffe, zebra, elephant, kudu and Waterbuck before getting back to the lodge.

16 November 2014

This morning we headed out early and found three cape buffalo sleeping in the grass along the camp road. Once on the tar we found another small group of buffalo crossing the road in front as well as a couple of male elephants and a common reedbuck. Further along we found the first of three buffalo herds, all three close to the road. We also found our first impala of the day, now, not particularly unusual but this is the start of the birthing season for impalas and today we saw our first impala babies. Probably only a few days old but already steady on their feet and able to keep up with mum. This is definitely needed as the young are prey for many a predator and will need a lot of good fortune to survive in the coming months. As we approached Napi boulders entrance we came upon a  couple of cars, as we arrived we spotted a leopard which was walking away from us into the bush. The sighting only lasted about twenty seconds but still nice to see. Further along we found three adult hyena just lying outside their den. We then took a drive down where the resident hippo were on the other side of the dam and Waterbuck chilling near the water. We also had a brief sighting of a rhino who had obviously been enjoying a mud bath earlier. We also noticed a dark chanting goshawk who seemed to be interested in the movements of a slender mongoose. Other birds around the waters edge included geese, lapwings, egrets and jacanas with hornbills perched up in the tree always watching the events going on. We took a drive along watergat which was fairly quiet although we had a very nice giraffe sighting. Seven giraffe, male and female, close to the road having a bite to eat while keeping a firm eye on us. As we turned onto Doispane we found more impala and kudu before we found our first group of vervet monkeys by the road. This delighted all our guests as several of the females had young babies tucked up safely on their belly. One female in particular came very close to the car as she enjoyed picking off some flower heads to eat. Further along more elephants, zebra in the distance and a couple of buffalo before we got to Phabeni gate where sadly it was time to say goodbye to Saikat, Rodrigo and Cynthia who are off on new adventures. Thanks for your company guys and travel safe.

With four guests left we took a drive along Albasini back to our lodge and immediately found our first Babboons of the tour. Most were well hidden in the bush but we did find one large male happily posing for us on a termite mound. As we sat watching one guest commented they act a bit like humans with his yawning and scratching, although when he started picking his nose maybe that was a bit too close to the truth!!!

Further on a warthog hidden in the bush, impala and kudu before we got to mestal dam. The dam was fairly quiet today but it was fun just to watch the hippo action as they popped their head up and down in the water. Concentration is a big necessity when it comes to taking photos of hippos!!! We then found a little bachelor group of elephants who were busy eating the fresh grass at the side of the road and also had a second group nearby numbi gate. Perched just above them was a returning woodlands kingfisher.

Back at the lodge the guests had some spare time for a bit of a snooze before they went out on their evening drive. Unfortunately the weather today has been cold and cloudy so no sunset tonight. On the drive itself they saw plenty of rhino, zebra, buffalo and impala and also saw a couple of scrub hares on the road.

More coming soon!!

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