Wednesday, November 5, 2014

On Safari With Curtis From 30 October 2014

30 October 2014

The start of a new tour and after meet and greets we headed down Nelspruit to Numbi gate. After the formalities of checking in at the gate we headed down to our first rest camp which for tonight is Pretoriuskop. Along the way we found a couple of zebra deep in the bush and then an elephant even further in the bush. We then came to a much nicer, and closer, elephant sighting. A female herd with a couple of youngsters including a calf about a year old. We sat and watched as they moved closer to the vehicle and then crossed the road.

Once at Pk restcamp we checked and while one of our guests went on a sunset drive the rest of us went for a short drive around the area.

Immediately out of the gate we found impala and then elephants walking away from us before taking a loop around Shabeni. There we saw plenty of buffalo, vervets monkey and babboons as well as kudu. Just before re-entering the camp we found a group of banded mongoose scurrying across the road.

31 October 2014

An early start this morning saw us taking a loop around Shabeni to begin where we found plenty of impala and a large herd of buffalo with a solitary wildebeest hanging around with them. We also spotted vervets and baboon as well as two klipspringer.

Back on numbi we spotted a nice large giraffe walking around minding his own business. Turning on to Napi we found a couple more giraffe. On boulders we found a herd of sable but they moved off into the thick grass abruptly. We had a couple of elephants at a distance before we turned up at the hyena den where five hyenas were lazing around. Two of the guests also saw a couple of cubs before they disappeared back in to their den. The next section was fairly quiet apart from impala and kudu and even transport dam was subdued although we got a look at waterbuck. As we turned back onto Napi we spotted a leopard standing close to the road,  we followed her as she walked occasionally moving further into the grass and then coming back out. The leopard then crossed over the road before changing its mind and re-crossing back over. By this time a lot of vehicles had gathered around and she decided the best thing to do was climb up into a tree and chill. After having such a great sighting too ourselves for quite a while we decided to move off and let others have a look.

We headed down to the golf club for an extended breakfast and sat and watched as a few hippos moved along the dam to take a look at us. After breakie we took a drive around the river where we found Bushbuck, nyala, dwarf mongoose and steenbok before hearing about a possible lion sighting. Making our way to the lions we passed elephants and buffalo as well lots of impala.

At the sighting we found two female lionesses sleeping next to a watering hole.

Occasionally they popped their head to look around and have a stretch but not much else. Luckily they had chosen to lie down in a very clear area with nothing blocking our view of them.

After leaving the sighting we headed back to Skukuza for lunch along elloff which was extremely quiet. With the exception of hippo on high level bridge and a couple in the river we saw not much else before lunch.

After lunch we headed back along Napi which until klipspringer koppies was also quiet. Just past the koppies we found our second leopard of the day, this one lying up in a marula tree about thirty meters in. We watched until the tale tell signs that it was about to climb down and sure enough it did jump down. We thought that was it but we managed to keep it in view for about ten minutes more as it walked through the grass before disappearing. We then spotted three male elephant who had been playing in the mud. We passed the hyena again and this time managed to see the cubs a bit longer before they went back into the den. Other sighting include warthog, kudu, duiker and Waterbuck before getting back to the rest camp.

1 November 2014

This morning we woke to a cold dull overcast start to the day and as we left the gate we found our first animals virtually straight away in the shape of waterbuck, in fact for the first kilometer we had just waterbuck sightings. Along Napi we found elephant and buffalo. Shithave was quiet this morning with just the nostrils of the hippo seen. Carrying on we found three hyena standing just next to the road with a further three laying down close by, but the guests were more interested in the little cubs which were playing around before they darted back to the safety of the den. We then came across four large male elephants, one of which was slowly walking down  the road towards us. He eventually moved on to the grass and we parked up and watched as all four walked by us just a few meters from the road. We then found a couple of very nice rhino who were busy eating very close to the road. Just before we stopped for breakfast we found another hyena den with four adults hanging outside but no cubs to be seen here. After breakfast things turned quieter but we still passed by lots of kudu and impala as well as stopping for elephant. A trip round Shabeni and we found a small herd of male buffalo with two of them clashing horns quite aggressively trying to ascertain dominance as well as seeing baboons and Warthog.

Then it was time to move down to Nkambeni lodge which is our home for the next two nights.

2 November 2014

The morning started off much brighter today and we headed down Napi with the sun beating down. Unfortunately Napi was extremely quiet this morning and although we saw impala, kudu, zebra, buffalo and common duiker it wasn't the start we hoped for. We then came across a nice herd of giraffe and a couple of elephants before stopping for an early breakfast. Afterwards we set down along the river and things started to pick up as we at first found buffalo and then a couple of hippo out of the water. Plenty of impala and a few Bushbuck were out shone by the hundred or so elephants we saw down in the river. We also had a nice look at the African fish eagle as it quite violently called for its mate. Further along we also saw the southern ground hornbill walking along the road searching for a tasty morsel. We then found lions, five of them across the river lying down in the shade. They had no intention of moving and although too far for a good photo we had lots of time looking at them through the binoculars.

We then moved onto a dam where we found hippos basking in the ever shrinking watering hole and two warthogs.

At sunset dam more hippos, lots of crocs and yellow-billed stork along with zebra and giraffe.

I then heard about a leopard sighting just down the road but alas it had gone, however it did mean we ended finding a second lion sighting. This time four lions who were unsuccessfully trying to hunt buffalo. We watched as they edged closer only to be spotted and after twenty minutes of this game the buffalo had had enough and chased the lions into the bush. With the lions disappearing it was time for us to do the same and we went to lower sabie for lunch.

Afterwards, on the way home, we drove past a lot of the stuff we had already seen but we did get a nice baboon sighting close to the road and also a small group of elephants cross over the road in front of us as they headed down to the river.
Napi was also extremely quiet but we did have a close encounter with four bull elephants, nice giraffe, zebra, kudu, impala, steenbok, Waterbuck and common duiker before we got back to the lodge.

3 November 2014

The last day of this tour and as always a good hearty breakfast before we checked out and left the lodge to go on our last drive. Going the same route as yesterday our last morning turned out to be considerably busier than yesterday. Once on Numbi tar we found a small group buffalo before we passed waterbuck, impala, kudu and zebra in quick succession. We then found a herd of elephant who were heading into the bush so really we found a herd of elephant bums!! We turned onto Napi and came across the final few stragglers of a herd of buffalo who had crossed the road before we got there. We drove past the flat rocks and found only one of the hyenas outside the den this morning before we came to a missed lion sighting. Just as we turned up the second of two lions walked over the edge of the rocks, where they have been laying, not to be seen again.

Moving on we found plenty more general game before we found a lone bull elephant crossing the road, he was obviously in a bad mood as we were about twenty meters from him and he still gave us a disgruntled shake of the head. Taking this as a sign we left him to chill and carried on. We were following a private car when suddenly it braked and reversed quickly, as we approached I spotted why the sudden maneuver, a leopard was sitting on the lower branch of a marula tree. This was the same female leopard we had seen just a couple of days ago and she was still very skittish around cars. Even being thirty meters away up in a tree she didn't feel comfortable and as the number of vehicles increased she decided she had had enough and jumped down from the tree and walked off into the bush.

Heading down watergat we found a tower of giraffe as well as impala, steenbok, kudu and baboons before we turned onto Doispane where we found more giraffe with three of them crossing the road in front of our vehicle. We headed down river road after being told about a sighting and we indeed found two female lions lying down on some rocks in the dry river bed. They were some way away so no great photos but with binoculars we could still see them clearly. Eventually one got up and moved down into the reeds while the other happily posed with head up. Eventually we moved off leaving the sighting to others while we headed back up doispane. Heading to the gate we came to across buffalo, elephant as well as zebra, wildebeest, kudu and impala before we found hippo at Nyamundwa dam and a brown snake eagle just after that.

Then it was time to leave the park and transfer back to Nelspruit to the shuttle which was to take the guest back to Johannesburg. Thank you James for joining us on this tour. Safe onward journey and enjoy reliving all those great sightings you have had over the last five days.

More coming soon!!

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