Kruger National Park – Day 2

11 November 2017 – Tsendze

How fantastic to wake to the sounds of the dawn chorus in the bush.  It was already getting light at 4:30 am and that’s when the gate opens.  But we had no intention of making such an early start.  I went to shower at the ablution block just after 5 and we were packed and ready to leave at 6:30

Our first exciting event was an encounter with  Ayres Hawk-eagle.   There were actually two.  The light was bad so the photo is not great but we found this one on a kill.



We also got a good sighting of the common black-shouldered kite – but what a pretty bird.



Elephants, buffalo, hippo, wildebeest and zebra were also on the menu and we got to see a lot of birdlife.   Here are a few photos that we managed to get.


Lesser-striped swallow




The uncommon yellow-billed oxpecker – grooming a zebra


Cute little blue waxbill


Shy steenbok


Beautiful giraffe


A rarity in the park is an antelope similar to a red hartebeest – the Tsessebe – We found a few of them which was lovely.


Time wore on and we were getting hungry.  We decided to head back toward Mopani and have something to eat there.  After a few hours of game driving you rather hope that you won’t see anything exciting as all you want is to have a break and get some strong coffee into you.  I yelled at the earl to stop with a couple of interesting birds but either I was too late or he’d lost interest because he just drove on.  Thank Goodness for that because just a few kms from camp we spotted some stationery cars – always a good sign – It has to be a leopard, I said and as we got closer I spotted a tail hanging down from the branch of a tree.  Oh joy – all thoughts of coffee and food disappeared in an instant.   There was a young leopard on a kill up in the tree.  And was she having a delightful breakfast – lucky creature.   If we’d delayed over the birds I’d called we would have missed her as after a minute she slid down the tree, washed her paws and slipped off into the bush!  Gone!  The only evidence were the remains of impala hanging in the tree!


We lingered long over breakfast at Mopani as its restaurant has such a lovely view over the river.  We saw marabou storks and watched greater striped swallows take off and land back in the branches of the trees again.   There was a lot of activity.  I had a second cup of coffee while the Earl went to another section of the facility to pay accounts and send emails from his laptop.

We like to rest in camp in the middle of the day and it was now just after 11.  We just did one more loop to Mooiplaas Picnic site, spotted some birds and hippos and then did a little river loop where we saw buffalo and elephant.

We got back to camp around 1 o’clock and rested until 3:30 and then went out again.   We saw all the usual suspects and were not expecting anything too exciting.   It was nearing 6 o’clock when we were in sight of this morning’s leopard tree and gate closing is at 6:30.  And what should we see – three cars stopped at the tree.

“They’re probably looking at the carcass,” I said the Earl.

But no as we got closer I saw that the leopard was back.

But wait there’s more – “Look there,” said The Earl,  “There’s another one in the tree.”



And then all hell broke loose as the two leopards started growling and slapping each other.



This is my dinner – Be off with you!


After a brief skirmish one decided she’d better get out of there and slipped down the tree and disappeared into the bush.  The victor sat in the split in the tree for a few minutes looking for all the world like any domestic kitty cat.


Then he climbed onto the branch where the impala carcass was and proceeded to finish his meal.



Soon other cars appeared and in the end there were five of us watching this amazing sight.   It gets dark quickly in the Kruger and by 6:10 I had enough photographs in good light.  It was time to head quickly back to camp before the gate was locked!   We made it with 10 minutes to spare


Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge 3 October 2017

This week’s Fun Photo Challenge needs the letter g

It’s an easy topic this week, thanks to Cee.   Being a wildlife enthusiast I have a few Gs that I can think of.

24 December 2006 100

Green Pigeon

121 Double banded sandgrouse Male Helen

Double-banded Sandgrouse

Flamingos flying-001

Greater Flamingos

May Holiday 105


Night Heron (2)

Night Heron

2010-10-02 024 Giraffe Earl

A G Post would not be complete without a Giraffe


Share your world 27 February 2017

Here are my answers to this weeks Cee’s Share your world

Ever ran out of gas in your vehicle? 

I can’t remember ever having run out of fuel in my vehicle.   But it’s been close.  Sometimes we travel long distances on roads that seem to go on forever but we make sure that we fuel when we can.  We have been in wild places where we’ve had to take in our own fuel.  That was fun!


Which are better: black or green olives?

I am of Mediterranean ancestry so olives are very important to me.  I always have black olives of various types in the fridge but I also like green olives.

If you were a great explorer, what would you explore?

I love exploring and have been to some pretty awesome places.  There is nothing I enjoy more than getting close and personal with African wildlife.


Sunrise in Africa


This Etosha Elephant tried to charge us

I imagine, though, that a great explorer is someone who goes where no man has gone before.   Well – I can’t identify with that – I have no desire to go to Mars or the arse end of the world where conditions are inhospitably hot or cold.  I don’t mind roughing it but there’s a limit.  So I think for this one I’d say anywhere exotic that I’ve never been before so long as I do not have to risk life or limb. And when I’m there I’d like to meet the local people, learn about their lifestyles and explore their fauna and flora.

Quotes List: At least three of your favorite quotes?

I often go on about attitude being the most important thing to get you through life.


This one is probably my favourite because I have had so many moments like that have taken my breath away.


Then there are the more flippant ones that make me laugh


The last one comes from my brother – “I’d rather be rich and miserable than poor and miserable!”

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

On Monday The Earl had to go to the dentist as he’d lost a tooth while biting into his spare ribs.  (He never did find said tooth!)  She referred him to a periodontist in Somerset West – two hours drive from home.  He was lucky enough to get an appointment the following day. Fortunately I went along with him as during the hour and a half procedure he was given a sedative and wasn’t allowed to drive back!    We were grateful that he was able to get everything done in one session so we don’t have to return.   However, the price has been a lot of post procedure pain!  We went back to the dentist in Bredasdorp today and she has given him more antibiotic and pain medication.  Thankfully he is feeling much better now.

I am looking forward to this weekend as my daughter will be visiting.  She is bringing friends too which will be fun.





Kruger National Park Day 1 and 2 Bloemfontein to Numbi Gate and Pretoriuskop

We are back from another amazing sojourn in The Kruger National Park. I have hundreds of photographs providing wonderful memories and will be going through them and posting some on this blog in the week or so.

Sunday 29 June 2014 Bloemfontein to Numbi Gate and Pretriouskop Rest Camp

We left Bloemfontein at 5 a.m. after a very comfortable night at Duinerus. Thanks to Magriet for her fantastic hospitality. The weather was clear and sunny though a little chilly for the first few hours. We stopped at Grasmere for breakfast and met some people with a CS number plate. They were from Bredasdorp and on their way to Kruger and Mozambique.

We decided to do our shopping at Middleberg Mall just off the freeway instead of Nelspruit and that proved to be a good idea as it had Woolworths and we were done in no time! The arrival at Numbi at 3:00 went smoothly. We had to fill out an indemnity at the gate and then went through reception very quickly. We then travelled the S3 and our first sighting was a fork-tailed drongo – very common in the park. Shortly after we stopped off at Mestel Dam. There was a pod of hippo basking in the sun. Earl wanted to leave straight away but I insisted he turn off the engine and watch and wait. Within minutes we found a fish eagle, darter, pied king fisher, giant kingfisher, jacana, and black crake. The thing about waterholes is that things can change so quickly. We even got to hear the fish eagles iconic African call.

First of many hippos seen this trip

First of many hippos seen this trip

We were quite tired after our two days of travelling so did not do a long game drive. We found grey hornbills and then Peter alerted us to waterbuck and kudu in the bush.

What are you doing in my park?

What are you doing in my park?

A target on your bottom is quite something to live with!

A target on your bottom is quite something to live with!

We then turned onto the S7 and Heather called Stop when she spotted a burchels coucal posing in a tree. Shortly after that we found some glossy starlings and more drongos.

Burchell's Coucal

Burchell’s Coucal

On the H 1 Earl spotted a single warthog grazing in the dry grass. At the Pretoriouskop day visitor picnic site we found impala with oxpeckers giving them a beauty treatment.

Beauty Treatment

You really must take care of these ears!

Three lovely waterbuck appeared just before Pretoriouskop entrance and a group of 4 dwarf mongoose darted across the road before we finally entered the gate at 4:30 Checking in went smoothly and we were delighted to move into to Huts 130 and 131 . We dined on braaied chops, sweet potatoes and salad an spent the evening outdoors in beautiful weather. It only got cold at around 9 pm


Relaxing on the stoep of our rondawel

Cheers my love

Cheers my love

Our own personal chef

Our own personal chef

We also brought our own personal window cleaner!

We also brought our own personal window cleaner!

Monday 30 June 2014 Pretoriouskop

We made an early start this morning and exited the gate just after 06h00. It was still dark but it was not as chilly as we’d anticipated. It gets light suddenly here and the sunrises are magnificent.
This sunrise with a giraffe silhouetted in the foreground typifies Africa for me.

This is Africa

This is Africa

The first leg of our journey took us along the H1-1. We turned off onto the s71 to Shithave Dam where there was very little besides a grey heron and a pied kingfisher.
Back on the H1-1 we found giraffe, zebra and kudu. The highlight of the morning was a beautiful brown snake eagle perched atop a tee. Snake Eagles are not true eagles as their feathers do not go down to their feet – only to the knees.  Most snake eagles have yellow eyes.

Brown Snake-Eagle

Brown Snake-Eagle

We also spent ages observing a party of birds flitting about in the bushes. Seeing us stopped and staring into the bush caused a number of cars to enquire as to what exciting creature we had seen. They tore off in a puff of dust when we tried to point out an interesting bird or 2. Many people visit the park for the Big 5 and other predators and as excting as it is to see them I get more of a thrill out of the small things in Kruger. One can travel the roads for hours and not see a thing if you don’t take note of the birds and other small things.

At 9 we arrived at Transport Dam where a pod of hippos were frolicking, a few jacanas were walking in the water plants, a crake made an appearance, water dikkop sunned themselves and hornbills and lapwings begged tidbits from the tourists!
Continuing further were shaken from a reverie when we spotted a roadblock up ahead. A herd of elephants were refusing to allow the cars to pass. One mock charged a car and then swerved into the bush probably giggling and elephant laugh as the occupants breathed a sigh of relief.
A special sighting thereafter was a little Klipspringer staring at us silently from his rocky perch.

Klipspringers are incredibly nimble on rocks.

A Kruger Road Block!


Klipspringers are incredibly nimble on rocks

We stopped at Afsaal for breakfast at about 11. It was quite warm now and we sat in the shade to enjoy our toasted sandwiches and coffee. Afsaal is one of the larger picnic sites which has a kiosk providing meals and good coffee can be obtained.  We prefer the smaller picnic sites where they do not have shops etc but Kruger draws thousands of tourists and they must be fed!



We went a little further past Afsaal before turning back to Pretoriouskop. A pile of cars were staring into the bush where leopard had been seen but we didn’t bother to wait for the phantom to appear. We enjoyed sightings of giraffe, zebra, warthog and a few more bird parties and arrived back at camp at 3.

Beautiful Model

Beautiful Model

She's on a leaf and thorn diet

She’s on a leaf and thorn diet

Hello Boys!

Hello Boys!

Brown hooded kingfisher

Brown hooded kingfisher



Longbilled Crombec

Longbilled Crombec

Yellow-billed Hornbills

Yellow-billed Hornbills

After shopping, getting and ice cream and resting for a while we explored the camp and found some lovely birds in the pool area.

We were delighted to find a crested barbet,  black headed oriole and red-billed woodhoepoe.  In front of our hut we also found a Kurrichane Thrush.

Crested Barbet

Crested Barbet

Black Headed Oriole

Black Headed Oriole

Red-billed woodhoepoe with bug

Red-billed woodhoepoe with bug

Kurrichane Thrush

Kurrichane Thrush


Supper was an early braai. Earl went to be very early and the rest of us chatted outdoors for a while before turning in for the night. We do not keep late hours in Kruger!


Taking the Kids to Kruger – Skukuza Part 2

31 March 2012 – SKUKUZA

It continued to storm during the night and when I woke up at 4:30 it was still raining.   We decided not to wake the kids till 5:30 and by 6 the sky was beginning to clear.  We managed to get away by 6:15.  In summer this would be quite late but from 1 April the gate only opens at 6 as it is getting light later and later. Today would really have been the last day one could have made a very early start.

It turned out to be quite a long day and we only got back to Skukuza at 3 p.m.  We did, however, make a few stops at hides and look out points to stretch legs and get rid of wriggles etc.   As you can imagine four children cooped up together in a small space can become somewhat noisy when there’s a lull in the sightings.  We try to keep them entertained and interested but usually its they who keep us in fits  of laughter with their sayings and antics.

“I want to see a cheetah,” declares Shannon.  “I can see one right now,” says Jay touching her on the shoulder.  “Hey – you’re not supposed to touch the animals,” comes her quick retort.

We stop at to see a beautiful Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl and take many photographs.  “He looks cross,” says Jay – “probably sick of the paparazzi hassling.  Don’t tell the next car where he is – he needs some privacy.”

Verreaux's Eagle-Owl

We self-cater all our meals except brunch and find the service at  picnic spot and rest camp restaurant  varies from time to time and place to place. But Lower Sabie is consistently bad and today we made the mistake of arriving there at midday when they’re at their busiest.   We put in our order, waited an age and were then told that they’d run out of pizza.  Another long wait before our meal finally arrived.   A small price to pay for being in a beautiful setting where hippo and buffalo lazed on the river bank.

We have not seen large herds of plains animals so when we see zebra, wildebeest and giraffe we get quite excited.  Today we found them in patches.  The giraffe in particular have been difficult to photograph as they hide behind tall trees or keep their distance from the road.   “Droff’ yelled Jay when he saw a small journey of them this afternoon.  “What the heck is ‘droff’ ? “A quick way of saying giraffe, silly.”   I’ll never call them anything else again!

Some other highlights of the day.

White-fronted lapwing

Swainson's Francolin

Green-winged Pytilia

Lesser-grey shrike

We followed this lioness for a while but she refused to look at the camera

Carmine bee-eater

Tawny Eagle


Red-breasted Swallows

Sadly there are people both tourists and tradesmen who visit the park who do not take enough care on the roads and animals and birds get knocked down.  Our little group of kids get mad when they see speeding or careless behaviour on the part of others and today Shannon was close to tears when we found a bateleur on the body of a very young monkey that had been run over.   We explained that the bateleur had found an easy meal and soon it had competition from a white-headed vulture.  The former had already flown up into a nearby tree to keep watch on his potential meal when the latter appeared on the scene.  Neither of them attempted to eat the monkey while we watched.

The kids have been looking at things on offer in the park shops and Simon  finally decided to get himself a monkey. Here he is at Lower Sabie with his new friend.