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Old Wednesday 9th January 2008, 18:51   #1
baggy2508
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Exclamation South Africa

Hi.
I will be in South Africa in September travelling from Johannesburg down to Cape Town and visiting the Kruger National Park, any advice on birds to see and also on mossies.
Regards John B
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Old Wednesday 9th January 2008, 19:05   #2
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Hi John,
You'll be covering an amazing area. Any ideas on exactly where you'll be? Around the cape I would suggest going up the west coast, a pelagic, and Tanqua Karoo. There are so many places on the way to Kruger that it's hard to know what you're looking for without more info. Feel free to PM me if you want info on any place in particular.

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Old Wednesday 9th January 2008, 22:08   #3
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John, have a look in 'South African Forum' and 'Southern African Birds'. There is already some material in those which you may find useful. Once you have a better idea of the route you will be following, I am sure people here will be able to help you. All you have to do is ask.

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Old Thursday 10th January 2008, 15:53   #4
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Hi John,

I agree there are so many great places to go to and so many different species to see. We specialise is birding safaris to the northern parts of South Africa and especially the Kruger Park. This is not an invite to say book with us, but instead an invite to let me know if there is any particular information that I can assist with for those areas.

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Old Thursday 10th January 2008, 18:52   #5
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Smile South Africa

Hi.
Thanks for the replys, I will be visiting the following.
Blyde River Canyon-Sabie River-Nelspruit-Carolina-Bivane River-George-Knysna-Featherbed Nature Reserve-Hartenbos-Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
-Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope

Regards John B
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Old Friday 11th January 2008, 14:33   #6
Dave Kennedy
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John,

Great route you have outlined there. Can I suggest you try this URL, and through sabirding you should be able to access information on most of these areas. Looks like a nice range of habitats on your travels.....you should find plenty birds.

www.sabirding.co.za

Best wishes,
Dave Kennedy

Last edited by Dave Kennedy : Saturday 12th January 2008 at 07:42.
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Old Friday 11th January 2008, 18:46   #7
baggy2508
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Hi Guys.
Would it be worthwhile taking my Sigma 50-500 lens with me or make do with my Canon 90-300 lens for bird shots, thanks for the URL Dave I have added to my favourites.
Regards John B

Last edited by baggy2508 : Friday 11th January 2008 at 18:51.
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Old Friday 11th January 2008, 20:03   #8
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Hi John,

We visited a few of the places you intend to visit on our trip in November 2005. We used Canon 100-400IS lenses. You can see our trip report and pictures here
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Old Saturday 12th January 2008, 05:34   #9
alan carr
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Originally Posted by baggy2508 View Post
Hi Guys.
Would it be worthwhile taking my Sigma 50-500 lens with me or make do with my Canon 90-300 lens for bird shots, thanks for the URL Dave I have added to my favourites.
Regards John B
Definitely take the Bigma - you will regret not having the extra length. Don't forget to pack a monopod though
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Old Saturday 12th January 2008, 18:13   #10
baggy2508
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Hi Kiki.
Great pics I hope I see as many as you.
Regards John B
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Old Monday 21st January 2008, 23:06   #11
Allan Hobbs
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Hi John,
We travel to the Kruger Park a lot, particularly the Sabie river area, and have also been to Blyde river canyon. We haven't yet made it to the south.
One to look out for in the Kruger is the Ground Hornbill - fantastic looking birds. I have a picture of one in the South Africa gallery.
September is near the end of the dry season, so a lot of game is found near the rivers in the Kruger. The bush is bare and dry, and you will often see large burnt areas where there have been veld fires. These can be good for birds. The large animals are also easier to see. If you go to the Lower Sabie restcamp have a look at the aloes on the entrance road - there are often lots of sunbirds. Our first day there it took us an hour to get out of the camp
The other good thing is that the mossie count will be low at that time of year. Take malaria tablets though, as Kruger is a malaria area, and it only takes one bite
Re the lens - Bigma without a doubt. I only have the standard canon 75-300 zoom, and a lot of the time it just isn't long enough I can still manage some decent shots, but it will be much better with a Bigma.
Have a great time and I'll look forward to some terrific gallery pictures
Allan
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Old Tuesday 22nd January 2008, 15:06   #12
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John

In Kruger, try to get to Punda Maria and Shingwedzi rest camps - PM me and I'll give you a tip on finding the Collared Palm Thrushes at the latter.

I'd wholeheartedly recommend trying for a Cape Town Pelagic trip. We missed out in 2005 but got lucky in October 07 (very lucky, if you fancy Spectacled Petrel and Balck-bellied Storm Petrel + several new albatross species). A guided day in the Tanqua Karoo, doable from Cape Town, is recommended too - we got a fair number of lifers there which we thought was pretty good going after managing 300 species in three weeks in 2005.

I'll put a word in for Dinonyane too, possibly as a first stop from Johannesburg.
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Old Wednesday 23rd January 2008, 19:06   #13
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Another suggestion - subscribe to capebirdnet. Getting their e-mails was worth both Greater Sheathbill and Lesser Flamingo for us in 2005.
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Old Wednesday 23rd January 2008, 22:17   #14
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John,

Go to "Your local patch/South African Forum/post#34". I have some info re malaria/mozzies in that post.

Regards,
Dave Kennedy
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Old Friday 25th January 2008, 18:22   #15
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Hi Guys.
Thanks for the input will visit the various sites.
Regards John B
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Old Thursday 7th February 2008, 08:49   #16
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Hi John, I visited SA a year or so back fantastic everywhere something new, my experience was very good, however I had many warnings frm the police and others to be careful of showing expensive camera gear around town, this was when out and about and being on my own. I am normally unworried assuming environment to be safeish but after visiting Palermo this year and being car-jacked I am more than sensitive about keeping car doors locked when travelling.

I have some pics posted from trip to SA on Bird forum. I hope to return this year.

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Old Tuesday 24th June 2008, 17:30   #17
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Old Tuesday 24th June 2008, 19:59   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baggy2508 View Post
Hi.
I will be in South Africa in September travelling from Johannesburg down to Cape Town and visiting the Kruger National Park, any advice on birds to see and also on mossies.
Regards John B
I'll be visiting some of the sites you're going to in July/August. PM and I'll let you know how I did.

Cheers
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Old Wednesday 25th June 2008, 18:11   #19
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If you are staying any length of time in Nelspruit, try the Nelspruit Botanical Gardens. They have a rainforest (artificial rain), a river, an aloe garden, a lot of indigenous plants and the birding can be quite good there. I agree, take your Sigma 50 - 500 and a monopod, but take note of what GiGi said, and do not flash your gear around when on your own in an unprotected area. If you look on the SANParks Forum they have a birding section :
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewf...66d022cf843e38
you might get some good tips on best birding areas in Kruger. The greatest number of birds are usually in the camps and near water such as rivers or waterholes. With regard to Mozzies, wear long-sleeves and long trousers in the evenings if you sit outside, take citronella candles and use citronella soap. I don't like stuff like Deet so I use citronella oil. You can buy something called Mosquito Wipes which are impregnated with citronella in some places, we found these wonderful - I think Outdoor and Camping Centres may have them. It is essential that you take prophylactics, starting at least four days before you enter the malarial area (this includes Nelspruit) and ending nine days after you have left the area. If you feel as though you are getting a cold/headachey/achey/flu-ish afterwards, go immediately and get a blood test for malaria. It is much easier to treat if caught early. Hope you will have an amazing time. Do you know which camps you will be in in Kruger?
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Old Thursday 26th June 2008, 05:01   #20
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G'day John

I visited South Africa in Sep-Oct 2006 and covered many of the places you are visiting. Mossies were not a problem but we took anti-malarial drugs.

I have a trip report here:

http://members.datafast.net.au/clark...p_reports.html

Simply birding is a great southern African website:

http://www.simplybirding.co.za/

Cheers
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Old Thursday 26th June 2008, 08:24   #21
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If you are staying any length of time in Nelspruit, try the Nelspruit Botanical Gardens. They have a rainforest (artificial rain), a river, an aloe garden, a lot of indigenous plants and the birding can be quite good there. I agree, take your Sigma 50 - 500 and a monopod, but take note of what GiGi said, and do not flash your gear around when on your own in an unprotected area. If you look on the SANParks Forum they have a birding section :
http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewf...66d022cf843e38
you might get some good tips on best birding areas in Kruger. The greatest number of birds are usually in the camps and near water such as rivers or waterholes. With regard to Mozzies, wear long-sleeves and long trousers in the evenings if you sit outside, take citronella candles and use citronella soap. I don't like stuff like Deet so I use citronella oil. You can buy something called Mosquito Wipes which are impregnated with citronella in some places, we found these wonderful - I think Outdoor and Camping Centres may have them. It is essential that you take prophylactics, starting at least four days before you enter the malarial area (this includes Nelspruit) and ending nine days after you have left the area. If you feel as though you are getting a cold/headachey/achey/flu-ish afterwards, go immediately and get a blood test for malaria. It is much easier to treat if caught early. Hope you will have an amazing time. Do you know which camps you will be in in Kruger?
Good information, but with regard to the taking of prophylactics best leave it to the doctor to prescribe as not all are taken 4 days before and 9 days after. Just ask your GP.
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Old Thursday 26th June 2008, 10:52   #22
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Hi.
Thanks for the replys, I will be visiting the following.
Blyde River Canyon-Sabie River-Nelspruit-Carolina-Bivane River-George-Knysna-Featherbed Nature Reserve-Hartenbos-Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
-Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope

Regards John B
Is it primarily a bird trip?

If so that Featherbed may dissapoint - I've been there twice
and seen little in the way of birds, but it is a stunning place.

Natures Valley just to North of Plettenberg bay, and Keurbooms and Bitou
rivers are usually better for birds, and you should get the gorgeous
Knyna Touraco / Lourie then.

Are you driving yourself?

De Hoop and Betty's Bay are well worth visits.

DJ
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Old Thursday 26th June 2008, 19:18   #23
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Smile

Hi Guys.
Thanks for all the info, the trip is not all birding but sight seeing as well, as for the tablets we have been told to take them Two days before Kruger and then for Ten days after just in case.
We are staying at a hotel on the edge of Kruger which is situated on the banks of the Sable River then going into the National Park from there.
We then continue our journey through S/Africa.
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Old Friday 27th June 2008, 09:23   #24
David Jobson
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Originally Posted by baggy2508 View Post
Hi Guys.
Thanks for all the info, the trip is not all birding but sight seeing as well, as for the tablets we have been told to take them Two days before Kruger and then for Ten days after just in case.
No, it is not "just in case" - it is essential.

The life cycle of the malarial parasite is complicated
but the drugs do not work on the injected parasites
(Sporocytes) but rather the next generation of parasite
both within (new er drugs) and when ejected from liver
cells (merozoites).

Many cases of malaria in UK are because people stop
when they leave the malarial area. though the risk in
Kruger in the dry season is not like some other areas
of Africa.
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Old Friday 27th June 2008, 10:12   #25
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the trip is not all birding but sight seeing as well
Then whilst in Knysna you will need to do a whale and Dolphin
watching trip
- you will be right at the height of the "Whale season"
with this year's crop of Southern Right Whales Babies being
sheherded by their Mums prior to the trek back to their summer
arctic feeding grounds.

Check
www.oceanodyssey.co.za/
They do 3 hour trips in contrast to Pletenberg bay 1.5 - 2 hrs
and are far more knowledgeable and less commercial.

I would do this in preference to Featherbed if the option was
one trip only.

Stunningly beautiful coast and good chance of seeing the very rare
and endangered Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin - there is a pod
just to the south of Knysna in Buffalo bay. Common and bottle
nosed dolphin are also common, and Humpback and Brydes whales
are around too. Penguins, pelagics, cape fur seals and hammerhead
sharks also commonly seen. Though for a pelagic boat trip Cape Town
is the jewel in the crown.

Consider getting the book
southern african bird finder
http://10000birds.com/southern-african-birdfinder.htm
(Not on Amazon)

In Cape Town I would add Robben Island and a "Cultural tour".
Robben Island was the ANC's prison. The cultural tour will
help you understand the complicated histroy and modern
cultural difficulties of this great country.

The best time to go up Table Mountain is at Sunset with
a bottle of wine and bit of cheese !!!

And if time, Groote Constantia, Cecil Rhode's old farmstead
and wine farm is stunningly beautiful and insight into the
olden days.

Betty's bay is better for seeing the penguins that Boulders bay, and
you'll get close up of at least two cormorant species and there is
the Harold Porter reserve which is great for Fynbos and birds. A lovely,
lovely place.

pm me is you want more info.

Be very careful not to underestimate driving times
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