Sunday, June 29, 2014

New Update On Wyntir The Rhino

Little Wyntir's new "hat". She is loving her new enclosure and nightpen and is sleeping very soundly at night only waking up for her 1am feed. We are also very happy with the progress of her wounds.
...
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO CONTRIBUTED

Wyntir sends her love!








Friday, June 27, 2014

UPDATE ON WYNTIR

The last few days have been quite exhausting for little Wyntir... Yesterday the vet came to sedate her so we can properly look at and treat her ears and other wounds. They looked bad when we started but as the dead skin and puss came off they wounds themselves didn't look as bad! The flesh is nice and pink and any dead tissue was cut away. So far we have good hopes that the wounds will heal well.


She has also really had enough of the crate. But we were working until after 10pm last night to get her nightpen and boma done! 6am this morning she was moved into her new nightpen and she is a lot calmer now!
 

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS DONATED TOWARDS WYNTIR'S CARE! We could never say THANK YOU enough! Anyone who still wishes to help can contact us on petronel@careforwild.co.za
 





Wednesday, June 25, 2014

UPDATE ON WYNTIR!!!


Hey everyone!

Little baby Wyntir is still doing well. Last night she had a bit of a rough night and was a bit restless. She was banging around in the crate and managed to scratch her ear and almost took off a chunk. Petronel, Kate and Isabella had their hands full at around 01:30 to get that sorted and Kate spent the night in the crate since then to keep her calm and comforted! Even though it was unfortunate it is fairly common for a baby rhino to get fed up with being stuck in a crate for so long. She is getting uncomfortable, bored and stiff and the tranquilizers she was given when she was darted is almost completely out of her system. We are working as fast as we can on finishing her boma (enclosure) close to the barn and houses so we can let her out of the crate but also still keep a permanent eye on her.
 
Will keep you all updated!



 

KNP GATE QUOTAS SET FOR THE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS

Day Visitors to the Kruger National Park (KNP) are requested to take note of gate quotas when planning their visit, as these will strictly be enforced during the coming school holidays which start on Saturday, 28 June until Sunday, 20 July 2014.

Visitors are advised to either arrive at the gate very early in the morning because the serv...ice is on “first come first served” basis or pre-book their entrance with central reservations office on telephone number 012 428 9111 in order to ensure that they gain access to the park in terms of their own plan and are not sent back at the gate.

“Our gates have experienced a high volume of visitors during the past holidays, reaching their full daily quota fairly early in the day; therefore we are calling on everyone who is planning to visit the park as a day visitor to please make the necessary arrangement before hand in order to secure entry”, said the GM: Communication & Marketing in the KNP, William Mabasa.

Pre-booking comes with a non-refundable deposit of R32 per adult and R16 per child entering the park; which must be paid in advance and is meant to ensure their space because they would have been counted in the number that made the daily quota. Day visitors with advanced bookings are expected to arrive at the booked gate and date by not later than 13:00, after which the booking lapses. A pre-booking however does not exempt the day visitor from paying the normal conservation fees upon arrival at the gate but secures him/her entry.

All visitors are also reminded to bring along their identity documents (IDs) or alternative form of identity to avoid problems at the gates. Wild Cards cannot be used to identify one as legitimate holder and should be accompanied by some form of identity.

Mabasa also reminded visitors not to bring liquor with them as the alcohol ban on public areas in the Park is a permanent rule which is enforced at all times; and the rest of the Park rules shall be fully enforced as well. Visitors can report any rules and regulations infringement to the Emergency Call Centres on 013 735 4325/013 735 0197 or 076 801 9679.

Day Visitors, who may not be able to gain entry because the quota shall have been reached, can if they wish, make use of the park and ride a facility which is available at some gates. The park and ride will cost visitors extra money but should be better than having to be turned back at the gate.

“We also request visitors to plan their trip by observing gate opening and closing times so that they do not find themselves either speeding or arriving late at the camps/gates on their way in/out of the park. People must please read their permits received at the gates because all the rules and regulations of the park are clearly stipulated in those documents,” concluded Mabasa.

KNP has 10 entrance gates i.e. Pafuri, Punda Maria, Phalaborwa, Giriyondo, Orpen, Paul Kruger, Phabeni, Numbi, Malelane and Crocodile Bridge.

For interest, the upgraded museum at Skukuza Camp which was temporarily closed for renovation since December 2012 will be open for tourists; as from Monday, 30 June 2014.

… Ends

Issued by:
Communications & Marketing Department - Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: 013 735 4262, cell: 082 807 1441 or email: laura.mukwevho@sanparks.org

Enquiries:
William Mabasa, GM: Communications & Marketing - Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: 013 735 4363, cell: 082 807 3919 or email: william.mabasa@sanparks.org

Media Release

Permits for operators using KNP border gates - All business operators who travel through the Kruger National Park (KNP)’s border gates i.e. Giriyondo and Pafuri, transporting passengers to and from Mozambique, will be required to produce valid passenger transport permits as from 1 August 2014.

Read more ---> http://bit.ly/1l6IaCz





Baby Rhino Found Alone By Tourists in the Kruger National Park

Hi Everyone, we are asking people to please read the below story on this baby rhino. Any help/donations for this little ones food would be greatly appreciated!!

On Friday we received word about another baby rhino coming to Care for Wild. SHE WAS ORPHANED DUE TO POACHING! We were warned about her condition and that she had been attacked by hyenas. When she arrived here, we were horrified at the sight of her ears having been chewed off by the hyenas and bite marks all over her head. It is unsure of how she survived but her will to live soon became apparent! She is quite calm and is drinking very well! IN SOME WAY SHE KNOWS WE ARE TRYING TO HELP HER AS SHE IS ALLOWING US TO FEED, COMFORT AND EVEN TREAT HER WOUNDS!!
 

She is extremely intelligent and even put her own rescue in motion by walking onto the road in the park and flagging down some tourists in their vehicle. She was so desperate that she even accepted water from them and stayed by the vehicle until the vet team arrived to dart and treat her.
 

If anyone out there is willing to help with the funding for this sweet little baby called Wyntir please contact us on petronel@careforwild.co.za
 

For more photos you can have a look on Dropbox https://www.dropbox.com/sh/eitmdulijoq1nbg/AACClacp6npxkwHz4oSdPX0xa
 

We will keep you all updated!
Stay blessed xxx









Thursday, June 19, 2014

On Safari With Karen From 16 June 2014


16 June 2014

Today was the first day of a new 4-Day Tented safari. We drove the panoramic route to Numbi Gate where we already spotted impalas on the way into Nkambeni Safari Camp. After check-in we had a spot of lunch while watching 3 giraffes eating the leaves just outside the restaurant.

After some time to unpack and relax, the guests went on their sundowner safari. They had a great time, watching the sunset with a glass of amarula (or as they said: at happy hour). On the drive itself they had seen lots of scrub hares, a spotted eagle owl, buffalos, kudus and an elephant up close.

 

17 June 2014

This morning was an early start as Anne and Kathleen went on a bushwalk. They appreciated it very much, paying attention to all the small things in the bush as well as walking in the vast silence of Kruger NP. They came across many interesting things like rhino middens as well as an elephant and kudu.

In the afternoon we set out for our game drive. We took a slow drive around Fayi Loop, talking about the park and management issues like fire as part of it had been burnt. We saw impalas, zebra, waterbuck, including a beautifully horned courting male, a black shouldered kite and a giraffe on the loop.

As it was needed we took a detour past Pretoriuskops ablutions. We did have time to watch a family if dwarf mongoose play and forage on the side of the road.

We then drove down to Shithave Dam where an elephant bull greeted us on the side of the road. He kept us in suspense if he was going to cross, but he apparently wanted more audience. When about 8 other vehicles were waiting he did show us his full body size by crossing the road. A herd of waterbuck females and youngsters were relaxing on the shore. Down at the dam we sat for a while, relaxing, watching the hippo head bob up and down and counting the terrapins on the rocks (36, give or take a few).

Then it was time to make our way back, as the gates were closing for the night. We stopped at the elephant again, now chewing lazily on a sicklebush on the other side of the road with a setting sun in the background. Halfway down Numbi tar we also spotted three more giraffes silhouetted against the sunset. just before the turn-off to Nkambeni Safari Camp two buffalo bulls were grazing on the side if the road. It took a while to pass as one of them apparently studied for roadblock and practised with us. We didn't mind as we got some lovely close-up pictures. It marked the end of another lovely day!

 

18 June 2014

This morning we set off for our full day safari. Just outside the lodge we spotted a duiker which ran away almost as soon as we stopped.

We took a drive around Shabeni Koppie seeing two klipspringers, buffalos and some impalas. Down Napi we went where just around a corner a small elephant just started crossing the road in front. A youngster of about three years started chasing another car which looked very funny. He didn't dare come too close, he was just showing off. After a couple of attempts he went back to his mother on the other side and it looked like he started pushing them across as the rest of the herd was disappearing out of view. We had a great time watching him.

We then continued, spotting a large herd of kudus, brown snake eagle, a hyena cub walking past the car and a slender mongoose running across. We turned onto Watergat after a quiet spell on Napi. Here we came across some more klipspringers, a pearl spotted owlet in plain view in broad daylight, zebras, giraffes, lots of impalas and dwarf mongoose.

Lake panic was a little paradise to stop. There were hippos, crocodiles and plenty of waterbirds to keep us entertained. Then we continued to the golf club where the hippos were performing a show with lots of noises, bum biting, teeth showing and poo spreading. The warthogs walking on the golf course gave no notice.

After a nice and relaxing lunch we drove off. We spotted two large elephants on our left eating from a tree, stretching their bodies up. A youngster was on our right, but before we knew it, about ten elephants showed up from our right and were crossing as if we weren't there at all. The two already on our left made one hell of a racket about the newcomers, lots of head shaking and trumpeting and grumbling going on. But the bigger herd pushed through. As they were dry, going straight we reckoned they were on their way to Lake Panic. So we turned around and drove back. Walking towards the hide we already spotted them over the fence. They came for a mud bath. Two adults and a youngster bathed about 4m away from us and here we are watching over a thin wooden fence that would have been no match for an angry elephant. Lucky us they did not mind us watching! They spattered and played, even made us join in the mud bath when throwing it over its head and missing the body. A youngster completely submerged himself with mud and then was unable to get up out of the slippery mud until his mum or auntie helped him up. We watched until the matriarch called them to leave. It was an amazing sighting!!!

We continued on our way and saw a nyala cross. The drive back towards Nkambeni Safari Lodge gave us baboons, a hyena, a lovely kudu bull, and another herd of elephants. These elephants once again crossed the road close to our vehicle, but then they stayed in the middle of the road being a lovely roadblock. Two youngsters came to their mums to have a drink of milk while they were still munching on branches of silver cluster leaves.

On the last stretch of Napi we saw a small herd of sable. This is a rare sight! Two males were pushing and shoving, but the difference in strength between them was very obvious. With this sighting it was the end of a very busy elephant day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hawks Swoop On Rhino Horn Poachers

The Hawks arrested three suspects for possession of a rhino horn in Atteridgville outside Pretoria.

The trio was apprehended yesterday morning and expected to appear in the Atteridgeville Magistrate’s Court today. Hawks spokesperson, Capt Paul Ramaloko, said the local police spotted a vehicle during a routine patrol and pulled over a suspicious vehicle.

“Upon ...
searching the vehicle, police found the rhino horn wrapped in a sheet and shelved inside the car bonnet. “We suspect that these suspects, who hail from Hammanskraal, were coming from Limpopo were we recently got a report of poached rhinos,” he said.

In a separate incident, another three suspected rhino poachers are expected to appear in the Makhado Magistrate’s Court today for a formal bail application.

A fourth suspect was also arrested in connection with the same case and will also appear in the Makhado Magistrate’s Court together with his accomplices.

The suspects, aged between 36 to 41 were arrested last week after police received information that a rhino had been poached inside the farm in Alldays.

Police, led by members of the Hawks, raced to the farm, surrounded it and after an extensive search the suspects were cornered and arrested in possession of two rhino horns, a ·375 rifle and an axe.

The suspects are facing charges of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, poaching of a rhino, possession of rhino horns and trespassing.

Meanwhile, three suspects aged between 29 to 42 held for suspected rhino poaching last week Friday, in an intelligence- led operation between crime intelligrence and Vaalwater detectives, have been denied bail by the Vaalwater Periodical Magistrate pending their next appearance on June 25.

A Toyota tazz, a ·416 rifle with a silencer, an axe and a saw were seized from the suspects. Since the start of the year, 442 rhinos have been poached in South Africa and 123 suspected poachers arrested.

The Kruger National Park has lost 293 rhinos to poachers, with 56 people, including a former ranger and two policemen, being arrested for poaching.

By:
The New Age newspaper

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

On Safari With Curtis From 13 June 2014


13 June 2014

After meeting my guests in Nelspruit we headed down to Nkambeni tented safari camp and checked in before we went for a afternoon drive. We headed along coming across many impala, kudu, buffalo, giraffe and white rhino as well as hippos and waterbuck at mestel dam as well as having a brief glimpse of a family of steenbok before they scattered into the bush. We then took a drive around Faye loop where we found more kudu, vervet monkey and a family of dwarf mongoose.

 

14 June 2014

This morning was a late start as last night my guests being big football fans stayed up late to watch the Netherlands - Spain world cup match. Immediately we found a large male elephant and then a small herd of fiveelephants on Numbi tar. We headed down Napi which was fairly quiet until we saw a leopard cross our path, we watched as he moved into the bush and hung around a bit until he decided where he wanted to go and disappeared from view. We carried on and found a nice sighting of zebra before finding a young hyena cub lying outside his den, we were then told about a herd of elephants just down the road and made our way there. They were standing right next to the road and wanted to cross but due to the large number of cars blocking their path they didn't. We waited patiently and as the cars all moved on one of the larger females decided to cross the road, this was the signal for the rest of the herd to cross over and we were treated to a wonderful sighting as about 25 elephants crossed in front and behind us. We turned back around and headed to PK for a short break before heading down Shabeni and Albasini where we found vervets, impala, zebra and a very nervous common duiker. On Doispane we came across a pair of mating lions. Hidden in the bush while they were resting we waited and finally the male stood up and went to the female.

Unfortunately it was time to leave Kruger and head to KMIA where my guests are catching a flight to head over to Brazil and follow their team Australia. Thank you for your company the last couple of days and fingers crossed for your team.

 

Day Trip With Karen On 12 June 2014


 Today was only a one day dash. We entered the park through Numbi Gate early in the morning and quickly we spotted a small journey of giraffes. There were two on one side, one crossing the road in front and two youngsters were still on the other side. We waited a while for them to cross, but they weren't paying attention or were distracted by something on the other side as neither of them wanted to make any attempt of crossing.

We continued our drive. We spotted our first of many impalas, three white rhinos hidden in the grass, two buffalos having a stand-off in the high grass that made them almost invisible and two klipspringers standing like statues on one of the rocky bits. Then suddenly there was movement on our right, close by the vehicle and we saw three lionesses walking by climbing up the Shabeni mountain. On a higher area a young male was also getting up. We watched them climb to the top and were hoping they would come out on the other side. We turned around to have a look. We did see them but unfortunately just their heads. They had decided the top of the rock was the best place to relax in the sun.

We left the lions to continue on Napi. Down the road we encountered zebras, a male steenbok, a large group of kudus with two nice fully grown bulls (one of which was clearly checking out a female), a hyena cub sunning outside its den, a warthog, a pair of hawk eagles and just before Skukuza a very old male giraffe. Some birds were also photographed: purple crested turaco, crested barbet and cape glossy starlings to name some.

After the break we took a loop around the river looking for elephants. And we indeed did got lucky. In between the bush we saw three elephant bums. Occasionally a trunk went up out of the bushes to get to the leaves on top. Excited about our first elephants we took many photos, but still hoping for a better sighting. We drove on, but stopped for warthogs, a brown hooded kingfisher, some nice impalas and hippos.

We stopped at high level bridge, over the Sabie river. Hippos were coming out of the water to lie in the sun as well as feed a bit more. Crocodiles were lounging on sand banks, a saddle billed stork was walking across and vervet monkeys were playing in the trees on the other side.

On Marula tar we kept our gaze mostly on the riverside as it was getting hot today. We spotted a nice elephant bull on the opposite side with a buffalo close by lounging in the riverbed. A nyala was trying to hide in the bush while hanging out with kudus and impalas. And we also saw a fish eagle.

After lunch, which we had at Skukuza again, we drove down Doispane. Our first sighting after lunch was a very unhappy one: a hyena was lying dead on the side of the road. When we stopped next to it we saw the flies around a large straight wound, one that looked like as if it had been hit by a car. Sad with this sighting and hoping that people would drive more careful, we drove on.

At a small waterhole we spotted a family of warthogs. While watching them dig while leaning on their wrists, we spotted a giraffe making a water ballet while drinking. And that grey rock on the side turned out to be a white rhino that was waiting for the giraffe to clear off so he could have a mud bath.

Later on we also saw more zebras, two white rhinos close to the vehicle, lilac breasted rollers, a female steenbok, green wood-hoopoes giving a concert and a crested barbet that was feeding young ones hiding in a tree hole.

We had seen many impalas today but just before Nyamundwa Dam we stopped to watch an impala show. The male was obviously not pleased with one of the females and chased her loudly around the open area. When she tried to hide in the herd he singled her out again and continued. He snorted and grunted! The rest of the herd watch comically while making a "huh" kind of noise. The pair even chased two waterbucks out of their comfortable shady spot!

The last bit of today's drive was down Albassini. Here we finally saw zebras in plain view instead of through bushes as a harem was crossing the road in front of us. To make it better they took their time crossing, forming a nicely striped roadblock, or, as they would have it, a zebra crossing. We were also treated to multiple elephant bulls, one of which docilely feeding right next to the vehicle. This gave us some amazing pictures to end the day!

On Safari With Mark From 11 June 2014


11 June 2014

Route: Albaseni – Shabeni loop - Fiaya loop - Napi - Napi boulders - Nkambeni

General animals seen: impala, warthog, kudu, waterbuck, hippos, giraffe, steenbok, elephant, rhino and buffalo

Highlights: on our morning run we were very fortunate to find a serval cat walking in the road as we approached the shabeni koppies. We couldn't get great photos though due to it moving off into the bush before cameras were ready.

On our afternoon ride we found 2 honey badgers digging in a rhino midden. We got great photos of these two and guests loved the activity of both.

We hope to find some lions and leopards tomorrow.

 

12 June 2014

Route: most of the travels on safari have covered the roads south of skukuza


Camps visited were: Skukuza, Lower sabi, Bergendal and Afsaal

General animals seen: impala, kudu, zebra, warthog, common Rheedbuck, bushbuck, waterbuck, steenbok, common duiker, klipspringer, giraffe, buffalo, elephant, rhino, chackma baboons, vervet monkeys, slender, dwarf and banded mongoose

Highlights: on our return to camp along Napi, we spotted a young male leopards on the side of the road. We got great photos as he moved towards us and then crossed over the road very casually.

Seems like he was in a fight as he had two wounds on either side of his rump. All healing though.

 

13 June 2014

Camps visited were: Skukuza, Lower sabi, Bergendal and Afsaal

General animals seen: impala, zebra, warthog, bushbuck, waterbuck, steenbok, common duiker, klipspringer, giraffe, buffalo, elephant, rhino, chackma baboons, vervet monkeys, slender, dwarf mongoose.

Highlights: In the afternoon, we had a mating couple of lions on Doispan. Although guests could see them, they weren't good photo opportunities as they were hidden from the long grass on the shoulder of the road.

 

14 June 2014

Camps visited were: Skukuza, Lower sabi, Bergendal and Afsaal

General animals seen: impala, kudu, zebra, warthog, common Rheedbuck, bushbuck, waterbuck, steenbok, common duiker, klipspringer, giraffe, buffalo, elephant, rhino, chackma baboons, vervet monkeys, dwarf mongoose

Highlights: A early morning surprise as we drove along the Albaseni, we found 7 lions walking towards us on the road. As we pulled off the guests had ample time for photos. Two of the males walked up a termite mound and lay down staring directly at us. Guests were happy.

 

15 June 2014

Camps visited were: Skukuza, Lower sabi, Bergendal and Afsaal

General animals seen: impala, kudu, zebra, warthog, waterbuck, steenbok, common duiker, klipspringer, giraffe, buffalo, elephant, rhino, chackma baboons, vervet monkeys.

Highlights: On 2 different occasions we found solitary saddle billed stalks spending g time on the side of running water. Great to see them as they are so scarce.

In general, the sightings have been acceptable as the increase in tragic due to a public holiday on Monday has sure had an impact.

We leave tomorrow looking for a leopard for the last 2 people that joined me.

 

Keep watching for more!

 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

SANParks DRIVER CAUTIONED

In light of the uproar with regards to the recent YouTube video showing a South African National Parks (SANParks) vehicle forcing an elephant and a calf off the road, a full investigation was concluded, which included the studying of the footage, information from the witnesses as well as the account from the driver.

It has to be noted that certain processes were followe
d to determine exactly what took place and according to law a person is considered innocent until proven guilty. In this case after careful consideration the driver was found not to have transgressed the park rules.

Despite the findings the driver was cautioned and instructed to exercise more caution in the future. SANParks would like to apologise profusely to the visitors who witnessed the incident and encourages more responsible behaviour by employees and visitors alike.

If you wish to report people for breaking rules at the park please contact Johan Nel, Chief Traffic Officer, Skukuza, Tel 0137354370, Cell 0736318682; Email: johannes.nel@sanparks.org or SANParks crime-line 082 908 3053 or KNP's Emergency Call Centre on 013 735 4325

Enquiries:
 

Reynold “Rey” Thakhuli: Acting Head of Communication, Tel: 012 426 5170; Cell: 073 373 4999; Email: rey.thakhuli@sanparks.org



OR
 

Ike Phaahla: Media Specialist, Tel: 012 426 5315; Cell :083 673 6974; or Email: Isaac.phaahla@sanparks.org

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

SANParks suspends conservation head


Johannesburg - SA National Parks (SANParks) has suspended its head of conservation services Hector Magome, it said on Tuesday.

"We can confirm that SANPark's managing executive... has been put on precautionary suspension," spokesperson Reynold Thakhuli said.

He declined to give further details, saying the matter was "not for public consumption".

Thakhuli did, however, confirm that the contract of Pathfinder, a company involved in the collection of rhino poaching information, had been terminated.

"Pathfinder’s contract has been terminated and as an organisation we are not compelled to give reasons for termination of this contract as it is a matter between client and service provider," he said.

Beeld reported that the company's contract was valid until February 2016.

The newspaper reported there was infighting at SANParks, which Thakhuli denied.

"We are not aware of any infighting and we would like to refute these claims in the strongest terms," he said.

- SAPA

 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

On Safari With Mark From 2 June 2014


2 June 2014

Route: Doispan - Napi - Nkambeni

General animals seen: impala, kudu, warthog, giraffe, elephant, rhino, waterbuck

Highlights: On our way to camp, we came across a massive herd of buffalo, all blocking the road. This was a fantastic sighting as there was males, females and calf’s all in the road. Guests got great photos

 

3 June 2014

Route: Napi - Elloff - Lower sabi - Elloff - Napi - Nkambeni

General animals seen: impala, waterbuck, kudu, common duiker, warthog, bushbuck, chackma baboon, vervet monkeys, hippos, Nile crocodiles, buffalo, elephants and rhino

Highlights: On Elloff we had 3 juvenile male lions come walking towards us. All 3 of them past our vehicle approximately 3m from us. Guests got photos and we decided to leave them as other cars were following them and this would disturb them if traffic builds up.

Approximately 2kms from lower sabie we found a journey of 17giraffe all spending time eating the acacia trees that lined the riverbed. Brilliant to see so many together.

We still looking for a great pride of lions and that allusive leopard.

 

4 June 2014

Route: Nkambeni - Albaseni - Doispan - Tshokwane tar – Satara

General animals seen: impala, kudu, waterbuck, blue wildbeest, giraffe, zebra, warthog, hippos, crocodiles, bushbuck, nyala, ostriches, baboons, vervet monkeys, steenbok, common duiker, Cape buffalo, rhinos and elephant.

Highlights: On our way up to Satara we found a female cheetah with her 5 cubs walking parallel with the road. Great to see how the little ones follow her, but still keep to the safety of running from bush to bush in pursuit of their mom. Guests got lovely photos and video of this.

 

5 June 2014

Route: Satara - S100 - S41 - S90 - Satara - H1-4 - Olifants - H1-4 - Satara

General animals seen:  impala, kudu, waterbuck, blue wildbeest, giraffe, zebra, warthog, hippos, crocodiles, bushbuck, nyala, baboons, vervet monkeys, steenbok, common duiker, Cape buffalo, rhinos and elephant.

Highlights: We drove down the S100 in search of the local pride of lions but found nothing, as we were discussing how the book says this is "Cat country" and how wrong they are, so popped out a lioness right in front of us. Both ladies enjoyed this and could get great photos.


On our return to Satara we found 3 different sightings of black backed jackals and once again enjoyed these all to ourselves.


In the afternoon we spotted a female leopard, stalking an impala. This was great to see as she didn't worry about us but focused only on the prey insight. She exposed herself to quickly and lost the chase but great video was captured by our guests.

 

6 June 2014

Route: Satara - H7 - Orpen gate

General animals seen: impala, kudu, waterbuck, blue wildbeest, giraffe, zebra, warthog, hippos, crocodiles, ostriches, baboons, monkeys, steenbok, common duiker, Cape buffalo, rhinos and elephant.

 

Highlights: On our way out of the park we got to see a beautiful elephant bull enjoying the apple leaf tree as a back scratch.


As we exited the park on our way to moholoholo, we spotted a male leopard walking along the fence and could pull off and watch this fantastic cat for one last time. Just goes to show it's not over until it's over.

 

More coming soon!!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Poachers Update

Statement by the Department of Environmental Affairs on trade in rhino horn - Since the start of 2014, 442 rhino have been poached in South Africa and 123 suspected poachers arrested.

http://bit.ly/1pbOiRb






Airlink Commences Flights To Skukuza


Airlink has commenced flight operations between Johannesburg and Skukuza and Cape Town and Skukuza. 

 

The return of the scheduled air services to Skukuza allows tourism stakeholder and tourists access to various destinations within the Kruger Park, Sabi Sands Game Reserve and other SA national parks, serving as a hub for regional wildlife areas. 

 

Airlink departs Johannesburg at 10h00 and arrives in Skukuza at 10h50. The return flight departs at 13h20 and arrives at 14h35, daily. 

 

The Cape Town – Skukuza flight departs at 10h35 arriving at Skukuza at 13h05. The flight returns, departing at 11h20 and arriving at 13h55, daily. 

 

A second afternoon flight between Johannesburg and Skukuza will commence from August 1, departing at 13h20 and returning at 14h50.

Friday, June 6, 2014

On Safari With Karen From 2 June 2014


2 June 2014

My guests arrived at the KMIA airport and we took a slow drive up to the Kruger Park through all the plantations. Upon arrival  guests had some time to relax before they went on their Sundowner safari.

They went to Mashawu Dam where they unfortunately just missed the sunset because they had stopped for giraffes along the way. But the sky was still a lovely red colour so it gave some nice photos. They saw the hippos playing in the dam. On the way back it was a quiet drive with just a sighting of a scrub hare.

 

3 June 2014

Today my guests were not feeling well so we decided to take it easy and relax around our camp for the day.

 

4 June 2014

Today we left after breakfast to go on game drive. On camp road we spotted a small herd of waterbucks with two very nice adult males. Just before reaching the tar road a tree trunk seemed to move, but it turned out to be covered in dwarf mongooses. When we stopped the car however they all seemed to disappear quickly.

Then we took a slow drive around Shabeni where we saw impalas, kudus, a young tree squirrel and a crested barbet. Continuing on we saw some fresh tracks of rhinos and elephant but the animals making them were hiding in the bush. On Albassini we spotted a buffalo herd in the high grass. However the herd was slowly moving our way so we patiently waited a bit for them to show themselves for better pictures. They came close to the vehicle and then the first brave bulls started crossing in front of our vehicle. Their followers got spooked by a private vehicle though so they turned around. Most of the herd ended up crossing behind us. We estimated the herd was about 60 buffalos strong, but the stream seemed never-ending in the high grass.

Further up the road we spotted some zebras. The first lot was hiding very well in the bush and had no interest in coming closer. So after a couple of pictures we continued and then spotted a nice zebra on the side of the road. He walked around the bush and we were hoping he would cross. Then 5 zebras came out of hiding and one by one started crossing the road in front of us. They posed nicely in the middle of the road, except for the baby that took the crossing at a trot. Close to the end of the road we spotted even more zebras.

Down Doispane we saw a warthog, many impalas, vervet monkeys and lilac breasted rollers. We then stopped at Skukuza for an early lunch, where a crocodile was lying in the riverbed.

On the way back we drove to Transport Dam. Just before the turn off a hyena youngster was lying outside the den. He wasn't feeling very well as he puked while we were watching him. We weren't very keen on watching him eat what he had just thrown up though so we continued our drive. At Transport Dam we spotted a nice crocodile with his mouth open on the island close to the shore. In the far end there were hippos. On either side there were large herds of waterbucks. We also spotted an African jacana male with two chicks and a malachite kingfisher. On the way back to Napi road we spotted some giraffes, one a very young one drinking from its Mum, but they were mostly hiding in the bushes.

Down Napi we saw more kudus with a very nice bull, bateleurs and yellow billed hornbills. We ended our drive with a herd of elephants in the distance close to Shitlhave Dam and a lone giraffe close to Numbi Reception.

 

5 June 2014

Today we set off after breakfast for a full day game drive. On Camp road we spotted our first animal already: a duiker, showing why it is named as such. We then headed down Napi which was littered with buffalo dung. It was hard to slalom around and felt like it was going for kilometres on and on but then we finally saw the herd of mess makers! The entire herd was on a little hill on our left just before Shithave Dam. On the right side however, elephants were walking not that far from the road so a great opportunity for pictures.

We continued on Napi spotting impalas, kudus, lilac breasted rollers, a red crested korhaan, yellow billed hornbills and then just before Transport Dam a bull in must was standing on the side of the road. He was massive! And the smell very pungent! We watched how he came onto the road, had a good long look at us and decided we weren't worth the effort. He turned and walked away from us in the opposite direction.

We then turned onto the H3 soon seeing a wildebeest all by himself and shortly after a large journey of giraffes. We counted about 9 of them in the bush, spread out. Most were feeding but two were arguing about a tasty tree or, more likely, a lovely female and had a good fight. We saw warthogs being chased off the road by another vehicle and when while on the S112 we saw some more. We had heard about a wild dog sighting and drove in that direction on the S114. We found them surrounded by cars on the side of the road. It took some manoeuvring skills of all to make way for others, but when it was our turn we got treated to a great sighting! The alpha female seemed heavily pregnant and the alpha male stayed close to her. The rest of the pack was playing around, which was a good watch.

We left the sighting more than happy with what we saw driving towards Skukuza. We reached the tar road and just around the corner a leopard was busy crossing the road about 50m in front of us. He looked at us but didn't change his route or speed. We continued to drive closer trying not to spook him, but when we got close he had disappeared into the bush. We searched and searched but gone.

After a break at Skukuza we continued on a drive around the river area. We started with a lovely sighting of a couple of marabou storks accompanied by bateleurs and two tawny eagles in the air as well as in trees nearby. At our first sight of the river we saw three hippos lying on the shore sunning themselves. We also spotted a hamerkop, a  hoopoe that almost got run over by an oncoming car, a great kudu bull and more hippos out of the water when we reached the bridge over the Sabie river.

On the other side of the Sabie river we continued on Marula tar where we were treated to multiple elephant herds crossing the road towards the river. At one sighting a mother with her 5 month old baby was about to cross when she noticed our vehicle and got a bit scared. She was immediately accompanied by two sisters to protect her baby. One of them so serious she came very close to the vehicle to give us the evil eye! We also saw zebras along this road.

Crossing the Sand river bridge we saw some hippos popping up and while driving over the Sabie river bridge A buffalo herd, crocodiles, hippos and a fish eagle. Back on the road to Skukuza we saw a cluster of cars and before we could ask them what they saw, a leopard appeared out of the trees and plopped down in the shade under a bush. We were just at the right spot to see him raise his head a couple of times, but he decided it was time for a nap.

After lunch at, once again, Skukuza we took a drive around River road and River link to see if anything was thirsty. We did see a small terrapin, a large herd of waterbucks with a very large-horned male and lots of pretty birds but no drinking animals on the riverside. On Doispane however elephant bulls were having an elephant mud bath. They were spraying it all over themselves and then rubbing the trees. We had great fun watching and listening to all the splashing of elephant feet in the mud!  Then we came across a small buffalo herd in an open area. We also spotted two white rhinos together on our drive. Our first rhinos of this tour!

At a sighting of a couple of steenbokkies we were told about wild dogs close to Phabeni Gate. We took a little detour on our way back to camp to see two dogs lying in the grass on the side of the road. This was a different pack as the ones we saw this morning. It is rare to see two separate leopards in one day, but even more rare to see two packs of wild dogs! We left when they got up to lie in the grass almost completely obscured, like the rest of their pack.

A last stretch on Albassini added zebras and two crested barbets to our long list of animals we saw today! At Mestel Dam we even saw some hippo heads, but as my guests said, we were kinda hippoed out after all of the ones we had already seen. It was a long day, but an awesome one!!

On Safari With Curtis From 1 June 2014


1 June 2014

The first day of a new tour and after a stop for lunch in Nelspruit we headed down to Phabeni gate, our first sighting was a large herd of impala close to the road and then a short look at a buffalo before he disappeared into the bush. We stopped at Nyamundwa dam and found hippos on the other side as well as wildebeest and a variety of birdlife such as cormorants, Egyptian geese, blacksmith lapwings and an African fish eagle. Further along doispane we found zebra before turning onto watergat where immediately we found a nice sighting of impala, kudu and vervet monkey's in the same spot. We then came across a large bull elephant only a few metres from the road, we pulled up close and watched as he pushed over a smallish acacia tree and started to pick branches off it before crossing over behind us. We then found impala alongside baboons and a warthog at the watering hole. After turning onto Napi we found a young hyena cub lying by his den before visiting transport dam. Again we could see hippo on the other side, as well a waterbuck, a couple of steenbok and more water birds. The rest of Napi was very quiet with just a few impala and kudu. As we drove down camp road we got another close sighting of an elephant before entering the gates of Nkambeni tented safari camp for the night.

 

2 June 2014

This morning we immediately bumped into an elephant just outside the lodge gates before taking a drive around shabeni and finding a leopard, we only got a short glimpse of her before she moved deep into the bush but never the less it was a good start. We drove down Napi which was quiet, with only impala and kudu seen. Continuing on with our drive we spotted rhinos and on closer inspection showed that the two were actually mating, a very unusual sighting. Further along we came across a large herd of buffalo with animals on either side of us and on the road in front of us. We carried on and found elephants before one of my guests shouted lion!! We reversed and unfortunately the thing she had seen was not a lion, we would have been disappointed however the thing she had seen was in fact our second leopard. We were the only vehicle for some time and spent plenty of time watching him before he got up and walked over to the road enabling us to follow him closely. A great sighting enjoyed by us all.

We then drove to Skukuza seeing giraffe along the way. After our break we took a trip around the river spotting kudu, bushbuck, a nice crocodile sunbathing on the sand as well as group of white backed vultures which were also sand bathing. We then heard about some lions on bravo. We headed down there and found two lions a bit into the bush, the Acacia trees blocked our view a bit but with some positioning we were able to get a good view of the pair. On the way back we came across 3 hyena cubs , plenty of elephants and impala we also saw the buffalo herd we had seen earlier.

 

3 June 2014

The last morning of this tour and after packing up our bags we set off for a last safari before transfers.

As we left the lodge for the last time we spotted a couple of common duikers which quickly dived into the bush before we set off down Albasini, we spotted impala before we got to mestel dam and found a mum and small calf hippo out of the water lying on a sandbank, maybe the water was colder than the winter air around us!! We carried on down the road, which was quiet, finding a nice herd of Zebra close to the road, we just had time to drive down to nyamundwa dam finding more hippos and the water birds at the edge before we had a drive down to phabeni gate and leave the park.

I would like to thank Evie, James, Josie and Susan for their company, we have been very successful over the last three days and we got everything that you had hoped for. Hope to see you back here one day!!!

Monday, June 2, 2014

On Safari With Karen From 29 May 2014


29 May 2014

Upon arrival my guests went straight on their Sundowner Drive after checking in. Beside a very lovely sunset with a drink in hand, they saw two different elephants, a lion crossing the road in front of them and a zebra butt.

 

30 May 2014

This morning we started off with two waterbuck on the road out of camp. Then we were surprised to find a male white rhino in the parking lot at reception. We sat with him quietly, so quiet that he came walking within 5m of the vehicle before he started to turn away. He ambled towards the reception office, where we saw the Sanparks Rangers hiding out of sight. He munched on their lawn a bit and then crossed the road and disappeared into the bush.

We were just on our way again on Numbi tar road when Curtis called that he had found lions on Albassini. We made a u-turn and followed up on the call. On the way we saw 4 zebras hiding in the bush and a couple of impalas. When we got to the lion sighting two of the three lions had disappeared behind a bush but the third one was still visible. Looking through the high grass and bush we saw him lying with his head up. We waited patiently for a half hour to see if he would get up and were rewarded. He did indeed got up and started marking the area by rubbing his chin on nearby bushes and scratching the trees, rubbing of his scent. Then he got tired from all the effort and plopped down again, behind a bush this time.

We continued our drive on Doispane where we spotted wildebeest, lots more impalas and a steenbok until we got to a couple of cars standing on the side of the road. They were looking at hyena cubs that were outside their den. Two young ones that were still very brown were play fighting over a piece of what looked like wood or scraps of food that one of them had picked up somewhere. Their older brother or sister looked at them with a disdainful look. After watching them for quite some time we continued our ways spotting a nice kudu bull and his females, a tawny eagle and a beautiful martial eagle.

At Skukuza we were almost sharing our coffee with a large troop of vervet monkeys. The youngsters were playing nearby but the adults were thieving from tables and bins. We protected our food and coffees and decided to leave.

We drove down Napi spotting a marabou stork flying over as well as white backed vultures and multiple bateleurs, and we saw warthogs and more kudus. Close to Transport Dam another young hyena was lying in the middle of the road, not fazed by any passing cars. He looked sad and cute at the same time and some of us were willing to take him home, but did not want to risk the wrath of its mother or the babysitter. So we left him on his spot and continued. It had gotten rather hot by now and the animals were hiding in the shade out of sight.

We took our lunch and break time at Nkambeni Lodge where some of us saw four hippos outside the Dam in front of the restaurant and others saw waterbuck and elephant passing by the fence line in front of the huts.

The afternoon drive started really quiet. Being still hot the animals hadn't come out yet. We saw a slender mongoose crossing and were suddenly surrounded by a troop of banded mongoose. Some of us will be haunted by eyes staring at them from the bushes! But then it was quiet all the way around Shabeni and up the link.

However as soon as we turned onto Albassini, we knew where the animals had been hiding. We saw a big dazzle of zebras, two separate elephants before we reached Mestel Dam. At Mestel Dam the hippos in the water were pretty active and showed half their bodies. We also saw a fish eagle trying to catch some fish but he was unsuccessful. When it was time to go we were surprised by two elephants that were walking towards the road. We hang around and one of them crossed in front of us. The second one rather stayed feeding off a tree on the other side and as time was running out we had to leave them. Just before the end of Albassini a side-striped jackal was walking on the road but he quickly ran off when we came closer.

It was the end of a very succesful day!

 

31 May 2014

Today we started early for what turned out to be an awesome day. On the road we saw once again a waterbuck and little bee eaters and brown headed parrots. On Numbi tar we saw our first giraffes of this tour: a group of 7 giraffes and baby,  that looked only a couple of days old. We watched them browse for a while before carrying on. We spotted various white rhinos, one of which a group of 4 white rhino, a great kudu bull and more giraffes.

Then just past Transport Dam we saw two cars slowly reversing. Assuming they were looking at something that was walking in our direction we stopped the car and watched. Surprisingly not one but two leopards came walking towards us in the grass not far from the road. The male leopard came out of the grass towards the road and walked by our car so close it almost rubbed it. While the other cars overtook us reversing we decided to turn around and follow them to see if the female would come on the road too. This was a good decision as both of them crossed and continued walking on the opposite side. We followed them and when other cars showed up from opposite direction it got a bit crowded as they all stopped. Unable to turn around in the squabble of cars we overtook them with the intention to turn around behind them, but as luck would have it the male leopard came back onto the road behind us. We stopped and waited as we had him all to ourselves this time as the rest of the cars was still busy turning around and impeding each other. He walked by us again and didn't care about us being there at all. Then the cars caught up with him and we let them overtake us and follow the couple so we could turn around and follow our way to Skukuza. But what an amazing sighting it was!

On the way to Skukuza we also saw a duiker and a journey of giraffes that looked like it wanted to cross but decided against it. After the break we drove down Eloff where we spotted a well hidden buffalo in the riverbed, loads of impala, bushbucks, a crocodile and two sounders of warthogs.

We crossed at High level bridge, while watching an island full of hippos and another crocodile. As we were looking for buffalo and elephant herds we decided to go all the way down to Lower Sabie and watch the river. We took our luck down Salitjie and were rewarded quite quickly with a herd of elephants in the reeds and the bush on the other side. While watching those elephants we noticed a well blended tree agama on a tree stump next to the road as well. Furthermore we came across warthogs, zebras, more giraffes and our second viewing of ground hornbills. We did see 4 yesterday already, which I had forgotten to mention. One sighting is pretty unique of those rare birds, two separate sightings even more so. We also stopped for a nice lilac breasted roller, yellow billed hornbills, a big water monitor, terrapins and two elephants having a shower.

The last stretch to Lower Sabie on the H10 rewarded us with wildebeest, more zebras and a large elephant herd with babies that were still so young the easily fit under their mothers' bellies. From the bridge we looked at buffalos, hippos and baby crocodiles.

After our lunch at Lower Sabie we stopped at Sunset Dam where the shore was divided by hippos on one side and a large flock of yellow-billed storks on the other. Spread out everywhere though were over 40 crocodiles! One of the guests had previously asked if there were crocodiles in the park and if we hadn't seen any before this definitely answered her question! A water monitor crept by next to the car as well.

Then we continued on the tar road to Skukuza spotting once again the endangered ground hornbills (a third group, this is amazing!), more hippos, elephant herds, giraffe, daggaboys and black storks.

Down on Eloff again we stopped to look at a brown hooded kingfisher, when we heard something else. We turned off the engine and it was a lion roaring. After a bit he came out from behind the bush, had a drink and came up just in front of our car where he started calling to other lions again. We only continued after he disappeared back into the bush. It was another great sighting!

Skukuza was the scene of a splash n dash and down Napi we went. As the day was coming to an end we only stopped for a hyena pup sunbathing outside its den. We returned to the lodge after a long day but what an amazing day! We were so spoiled today!!

 

1 June 2014

This morning we went on a morning safari after breakfast. We spotted for two duikers together on camp road and a little further on we saw another one. We drove down the tar road towards Shabeni. On the loop we had a couple of nice sightings of buffalo bulls that were grazing and we even saw an elephant in the distance.

Up Shabeni and then Albassini it was rather quiet. We did see some zebras and wildebeest hiding in the bush and of course impalas, but we were so spoiled yesterday that we thought it was quiet.

At Nyamundwa Dam we then saw a group of hippos in the distance, a darter and a white-breasted comorant. A crocodile showed himself briefly before diving under. Then we were surprised by a hippo walking on the dam wall and close to us he walked down and into the water. He did it nicely, no splash at all.

Then it was time to make our way to Phabeni Gate where we had to say goodbye to Leo and Cata. Their honeymoon had come to an end, but by the sound of it they had a great time. I hope to see you back one day :-)!

Then we drove back to Nkambeni over Albassini road. The bachelor group of zebras with wildebeest friends had come closer this time around and we saw a zebra harem further down the road as well as warthogs quickly crossing the road. At Mestel Dam we spotted waterbucks and hippos again. Just past it we encountered our first troop of baboons of this tour. The older ones were grooming each other and relaxing in the sun while the youngsters were playing and throwing each other out of a tree. It looked like they had a lot of fun. After watching for a while we continued back to the lodge for a nice break.

In the afternoon we went for a slow drive around Fayi Loop. On the tar road we had two elephant boys crossing in front of us, which were half wet from an earlier shower. Then just as we started wondering if there were any animals around, we saw a herd of impalas and some hippos playing in one of the overflows. At the end of the loop we saw giraffes feeding.

We visited Shitlhave Dam spotting terrapins, a crocodile on a rock and a half submerged hippo. On the last stretch before entering the lodge we saw those two elephants again that we started with. They had followed the water trail to camp road and were now feeding alongside it.

Not as lucky as yesterday but all in all a good day!

 

More coming soon!!

On Safari With Curtis From 27 May 2014


27 May 2014

The start of a new tour and after picking up my guests in Nelspruit we headed straight down to Kruger and Nkambeni tented safari lodge, our accommodation for the next few nights. No rest for the wicked however  because as soon as we had arrived and checked in to our rooms it was time for the guests to head out on their sunset drive.

 

The drive turned out to be a very good start to their safari as they saw a nice herd of about 50 buffalo as well as three elephants as well as general game. They also heard hippo but couldn't see them. On their arrival back to camp it was time for dinner in the boma with a nice hot fire to warm up in front of.

 

Tomorrow we hope to add to tonight's successful first drive.

 

 

28 May 2014

 

Leaving the lodge early morning we had only just got onto Numbi tar when we came across a herd of buffalo, possibly the herd that was seen on last night’s sunset drive, they were hidden quite well in the bush but we managed to see a few heads. As we carried on we came across a group of giraffe, two adults and three youngsters. Gradually the adults crossed over the road and the youngsters followed them. We turned onto Napi and found plenty of herds of impala and kudu as well as waterbuck in the distance.  For some distance the road went quiet and this gave us the opportunity to stop and look at some of our feathered friends such as the Yellow-billed hornbill, Red-billed hornbill, Grey-headed hornbill as well the cape glossy starlings and lilac breasted rollers. As we drove past transport dam we found a little traffic jam and found the hyenas outside their regular dens. 7 hyenas in total, 4 cubs and 3 adults and we were able to spend quite a bit of time watching them as the youngsters fought over the remains of their last meal even treating to the wonderful hyena sounds when they get excited.

We then drove down watergat and found a male cheetah sat under a tree. The visual wasn't good to start with but we waited and eventually he started to move towards the road,  if that wasn't good enough it turned out that he was accompanied by two other male cheetahs and after about ten minutes of following them they came out into the open and then crossed the road close to us. After such a great sighting we carried on and found more impala, kudu and waterbuck before turning onto the Doispane where we found a second hyena den this time with much younger cubs who were just getting rid of their black coats and obtaining the spots. We headed off to the golf club for coffee and spent our time watching the hippos coming out of the water, impala and lots of warthog around the ninth hole. After coffee we stopped off at the Lake panic hide where more hippos were seen as well as a crocodile, chameleon and plenty of water birds. We then took a short drive on the river doing a couple of loops where we saw more hippos out of the water as well as a beautiful Martial eagle and baboons. As we headed back to the lodge we saw vervet monkey's and a nice crash of white rhinos and a small family of elephants as well as white-backed vultures, a tawny eagle sat on the road and leopard tortoise.

 

 

29 May 2014

After such a good day yesterday we left early in the hope that we could match yesterday’s sightings. It didn't take long before we were looking at an elephant which was close to Numbi gate,  we then drove down Napi spotting plenty of herds of impala, waterbuck and kudu. After getting a tip off about a sighting we headed down and found a white rhino dozing near the water hole and then at the river bed found a huge family of baboons alongside impala and kudu. We spent quite a bit of time watching the interactions of the three species especially the playful younger baboons who chased a couple of the impala around. We then found what we had been looking for as we came upon a male lion with his head up. We watched for some time when he decided to stand and walk a few metres before collapsing back down. We also spotted a steenbok and klipspringer along the way.

We then made our way down to skukuza for a break before heading down the S114 towards renosterkoppies. We found impala and a lone wildebeest at the watering hole but a collection of cars caught our attention and we made our way there to find a lovely sighting of a male leopard lying up on the rocks. We were able to spend a good 15 minutes at the sighting before we decided to move on down the s112. As we headed down the H3 to Afsaal we found a large herd of elephants, at least 30 strong, which I hoped would cross over the road. Unfortunately they didn't and disappeared into the bush but not before we had followed them for ten minutes or so getting lots of great photos. The rest of the drive to Afsaal was fairly quiet but we did see a lovely African harrier hawk sat perched in the tree. After lunch we headed down Voortrekker which was very quiet for long periods however we did see more impala, kudu and a group of 5 giraffe as well as a brief glimpse of a slender mongoose scurrying across the road.

 

 

30 May 2014

 

It was the final day for one of my guests after so many great sightings over the last couple of days we still had unbelievably not seen any Zebras yet, with this in mind we set off early and found two separate sightings of common duikers which both scurried off into the bush. We drove along Albasini, stopping at mestel dam where we found the hippos popping their heads up occasionally and then carried on. The road was fairly quiet for the first half seeing just Impala, we then found a journey of giraffe just walking parallel to the road a few metres in the bush. After leaving them we then found what we were looking for, a group of about 10 zebras standing right out in the middle of the road. We had plenty of time to view them as they seemed a bit confused as to which way they wanted to go as they crossed the road a couple of times before deciding on the right hand side. We carried on and just a few hundred metres we found a beautiful male lion lying just a couple of metres from the road. I don't think he appreciated the attention as he got up and walked off further into the long grass, we were then beckoned by the car facing us that there were two more lions sitting further ahead. We moved forward and found them both lying in the grass. We waited a while and then the female got up with a second male in pursuit with the female leading him across the road and then the second male got up and followed them. We managed to get some great photos before they disappeared into the bush. We turned around and headed back down the way we came finding another larger herd of zebras and a lovely old male giraffe before having two male elephants crossing the road before we went to Petoriouskop for an ice cream. Afterwards we went round Faye loop finding a pod of hippos in the reed beds and a herd of buffalo before driving round the koppies finding impala, kudu and vervet monkeys before arriving at Numbi gate.

Unfortunately it was time to say goodbye to Tonya who is heading down to Durban on the next part of her South African adventure. I know you enjoyed all the amazing sightings of the last few days and hope to see you back here one day.

This afternoon we went for a short drive along Albasini stopping off at mestel dam. The dam was a hive of activity as the hippos were out of the water and very vocal, we had a crocodile sitting on the dam wall, impalas grazing in the background while a giraffe walked towards them. We also had a small herd of buffalo lying nearby and we could see an elephant in the distance. We also had waterbuck and steenbok near the dam. Further along the road we found a couple of very noisy tree squirrels in the tree, kudu, vervet monkeys and impala however the highlight of the drive was a pack of wild dogs we found next to the road just on doispane. They started off hidden in the bush but given time they gradually appeared more relaxed and came out giving us the opportunity to view them better. Time was getting short and so we had to leave the dogs and drive back along Albasini and we found Zebras and five separate elephant sightings before we got back to the lodge.

 

31 May 2014

Today was the final day of the tour and after loading up the car with luggage we left Nkambeni tented safari lodge for the final time to have one final morning drive. Immediately we found a 'dagga' boy loitering in the drainage line on camp road and a second one further along on Numbi tar. As we drove down Napi the road was fairly quiet at times although we saw plenty of impala, kudu and a couple of elephants before we found a young hyena cub sitting outside it's den, we heard the familiar sound of more hyenas around but found none. As we were going to move on we informed off a lion sighting further along the road and made our way stopping for a white rhino along the way. When we got to the spot where the lions had been they had moved off, we turned around and searched for them but to no avail. We then turned back around and headed to Skukuza, as we turned around a corner we suddenly found 8 lions walking down the road, 7 females and a juvenile male. They decided to lie down on the road and we spent a good while talking with them before they strolled off into the bush. We then found another white rhino with a young calf before getting to Skukuza.

After our break we headed along river road where we found bushbuck, more kudu and impala, warthog and vervet monkeys. We even had one final look at a big bull elephant before we had to head out of phabeni and transfer to Kmia.


I know Cory and Will, Louise and Marcel have enjoyed the many amazing sightings we have over the last 5 days and will go back to Australia with so many greats photos and videos and more importantly great memories of their time in Kruger and I hope one day we will see you back here. It has been great fun and an absolute pleasure in your company.

 

More coming soon!