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 Post subject: Jumbo's Kgalagadi Trip: Sept 06
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 7:14 pm 
Yet again we had a wonderful time in the Kgalagadi. I’m going to try and post my whole report before Friday…after that I will not be online for a while. If I do not succeed, please bare with me….the best part is at the end. :twisted:

As I’ve mentioned before our trip, to me, packing to fly to Upington was somewhat of a challenge. We’ve always done such trips with a double cab bakkie where we had the luxury to pack every thing we needed, might needed and add a few thing just for the hell of it. Our foreign member will probably not understand my dilemma, but I’m sure the Saffies will know what I’m talking about. The good news is however that this is actually doable! :lol: We were somewhat overweight on our luggage, but the kind lady at JHB Int. just gave us a sly smile and marked our baggage slip “no excess”.

During our flight to Upington I spend my time staring out of the window, waiting for that first piece of red sand.
In Upington we collected our Nissan X-trail from Budget Rent a Car. It was their first day in their new kiosk at the airport….previously only Avis had offices at the airport. From what I could see, Eurocar and Imperial also has kiosks.

We managed to get all our supplies we needed in Upington from the Pick & Pay as well as the Shoprite. The Shoprite has a wider variety of goods, including camping equipment. The Pick & Pay has nice fresh goods. Our meat and biltong we got from Skaapland Butchery….highly recommended! Upinton is a small town, it is no issue to “shop around”

We stayed at Riviera Guesthouse. Situated on the banks of the river this is a very neat and well priced B&B (R435 per room)…although parking is a bit of an issue. The evening we went for dinner at Le Must restaurant. This award-winning restaurant is a “have to do” if you stay over in Upington.

The next day we were on our way to the Kgalagadi! The 260 km to Twee Rivieren took us about 2h40min. As usual, we had the sad sighting of dead bat ear foxes ….eish! :cry:

When we took the turn-off at Andriesvale it was quite strange to find a tar road. The first 10 km has been tarred. I dunno, to me the rattling of the car on the 60 km corrugated road to Twee Rivieren always announced my arrived in Kgalagadi to me….the tar is somewhat clinical. :? “Luckily” there is still a good stretch of gravel left to drive at a leisure pace, enjoying the views of a Dorper sheep on a red dune. The condition of this gravel stretch is actually very good IMHO. To the people who know the Ngwenya/Crocbridge road, I would say that it is about 100% worse than the Andriesvale/ 2R road.

On our way to 2R we had a stunning sighting of a White-headed vulture sitting on the crest of a red dune. Unfortunately he flew off before we had the time to get a photo.

At 2R we booked in and met up with Jannie. What a nice guy he is. Was great chatting with him. :D

At the reception in 2R there is a notice, stating that there is no wood available in Mata Mata and Nossob, only briquettes. We went to enquire at the shop about this and were told that there might be wood in these camps, but apparently they only send supplies every Tuesday and if the demand is high the shop runs out. We decided not to take that chance and bought a few bags. I think I should just mention that the wood is quite expensive: R22.50 a bag. It is however good quality wood and do add the special touch to a Kalahari evening.

At the filling station we lowered our tire pressure. They are now issuing notices at the gate asking people to do so as to prevent damage to the roads (IMHO, speed is a bigger issue, will take this up in another topic).

Day 1: Kieliekrankie

Eventually we were on our way to Kieliekrankie. O what an amazing place the Kgalagadi is! The red dunes with the golden colored grass got into our veins a few years back and I strongly doubt that we will ever rid ourselves of that.

The sightings of gemsbok and ground squirrels welcomed us to the Kalahari.

Houmoed waterhole (?) offered us some ostriches and gemsbok.

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The ostriches seemed to have a bit of a squabble….even an arbitrator was called in

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However, it appeared that this was an issue that would have to be resolved another day :lol:

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Along the way we spotted this guy…any help with the ID will be appreciated.
Juvenile Pale Chanting Goshawk…thanks Peterpiper

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Birding wise we also saw several Anteating Chats and a bird I could not resist taking hundreds of photos of during our trip, the Swallow-tailed Bee-eater. There are a lot of them and it seems they prefer the areas around the roads…maybe because the cars chase the insects up? They are gorgeous, but not easy to get a good photo of. I did however later figured out a “trick”…will elaborate on that later in the report.

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On the Lower dunes-road, towards Kieliekrankie, we spotted this Kori Bustard. It is amazing how many of them you find in the Kgaladgadi!

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At Munro waterhole we tried to find the leopard that Jannie promised he tied to a tree…..think the man needs to go on a boy scout course…the leopard undid the knot. :twisted: On the sightings board at 2R there were several sightings recorded of this leopard at Munro.

Along the Auob road we also found this tree that seems to have been hit by lighting. The branches on the ground were all burnt.

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On the dunes road we saw our first Black Backed Jackal. Our personal observation is that they have become very scarce in Kruger and it was great to look into those intelligent eyes again.

Kieliekrankie, perched on the dune, was a welcome and beautiful sight. This is truly a great camp. We stayed in unit #4, right at the end, and had a stunning view all around.
My SO did try the pano thing…however do not have the time now to put it together…will post it under the Kieliekrankie topic at a later stage.

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As I mentioned before, the units are a bit close to each other. We had our reservations when we saw that our neighbours were a group of four, occupying two units. The evening in these wilderness camps are soooo quiet, if your neighbours are just a bit noisy you hear everything. I should however apologize to these people that I might have had any bad thoughts about them :redface: ….they were wonderful and the camp was dead quiet the evening…the only sound that broke the silence was that of the Barking geckos and a jackal serenade…the way it should be! :wink:

Edited to change photo links from Tinypic to Flickr and to add bird ID


Last edited by Jumbo on Mon Oct 02, 2006 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 11:28 am 
Day 2: Nossob

We got up early, planning to leave when the gates open at 06:30, but with me not being able to function before at least two cups of coffee we only got away at 07:00. :redface: As we put the last things in the car the sun stuck out his head behind the red dunes…beautiful!
I have to say that is quite strange to us whom live on the east coast to only see the sun rising at just before 07:00.

About a kilometre from camp we had our first sightings for the day: a steenbok, and a small distance on a jackal.

Traveling on the Lower dune road towards the Nossob road we encountered a grader. Ok, we though, we are probably not going to see much further on this road due to the noise the massive machine made.
As we game around the bend, just after the grader, we saw something in the road….two Bat-eared Foxes. :shock: They were not at all fazed by us and were crisscrossing the road looking for food. We afterwards realized that they probably know that the grader digs up food for them and I will not at all be surprised that they actually come to the road when they hear the machine. When the sound of the grader started to fade away they started to get skittish about our presence.

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The newly graded road also attracted flocks of birds.
The flocks of birds obviously also attracted the Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk. If you look closely it seems that this youngster that is still changing into its adult plumage…still has tuffs of brown feathers on the breast.

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Along the road we came across this Northern Black Korhaan. From what we experienced, they prefer the dune areas…have not found them on the river roads.

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The whistling rats were sun bathing between the dunes.

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The dune road also gave us another jackal and steenbok

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At Kij Kij we found these gemsboks. For animals that are suppose to be so adjusted to desert living they really like water!?! :?

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On the Nossob road we saw our first Dwarf Beaked Snake. We saw a lot of these snakes, unfortunately, most were dead…road kill victims. I was eventually on my own private mission to safe the life once we found. Seems they are quite active now and love basking in the road. With the speeds people are travelling in the Park a lot are killed. :cry: When we found life ones in the road I threw them with water to convince them that the verge is a much safer place.
They are small snakes… average 30-35cm. Their venom is mild and virtually harmless to man. They mainly live from lizards.

Hope my ID is correct….was based on its size and the “V” on the neck :?

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More raptor sightings included this juvenile Bateleur and Goshawks.

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The following raptor I have a problem to ID…need the help of the clever people. :wink: Unfortunately not the best quality photo…was far away. It has a distinctive dark brown head with a lighter brown, uniformed coloured breast. Juvenile what?
Juvenile Tawny Eagle…thanks JB & Johann

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This male ostrich were obviously breeding on a nest because we found him in the same position the next day….a worthy musketeer! :thumbs_up:

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At Nossob we stayed in the guesthouse…only place that was available. The house is situated above the camp, affording you a great view towards the riverbed. I’m however a tad disappointed in the set-up of this unit. I’m adding the “bad” to the good in this report, hopefully it will give info to others.
It seems to be that it was one guesthouse that they “divided” into two…fair enough, you also only pay R750 as to the R1650 in Kruger. The problem is that the two braai areas is right next to each other…only a wooden divider separate the two areas. Our neighbours were descent people, but even though they were talking softly we might as well have braaied with them. :roll: Maybe they should just move the one braai area to the other side of the house.??
The type of people visiting Nossob has also sadly changed. We had the same experience last year. Seems it is now the hub for the 4x4 crowds (en-route to and from the Botswana trails) Not that I imply that all of them are not nature lovers, but from the way some conduct themselves in the camp, I strongly doubt that they visited the parks for a nature experience.
This night they were really going on in the camping area…the women were laughing like hyenas and the men started singing “Ole, Ole, Ole”. These guys were taking over the camp! :evil: Even our neighbours were saying that they do not know why people like that even bother visiting the park (I did mention that we were close to our neighbours). After their 5th recital of the “Ole, Ole” song it suddenly quieted down…people obviously complained and management had to intervene.
Our neighbours retired early and then we had “our” Nossob evening. The “cheeky” jackals came around and actually were so “tame” the one came and lied down at our feet. We had our Nossob roosterkoek with jam and cheese and we listened again to the barking geckos and this time a White-faced Owl….the way it should be. :wink:

:idea: Hint: Freshly baked bread and roosterkoek is available in Nossob and Mata Mata. It is however not at the shop, you need to place your order at reception and the bread will be delivered to your unit in the evening. Why the shop just doesn’t get their supplies from these women is beyond me. The roosterkoek is R2 each….really delicious!

Edited to change photo links from Tinypic to Flickr and to add bird ID


Last edited by Jumbo on Mon Oct 02, 2006 10:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 7:34 pm 
Day 3: Kalahari Tented Camp

Our morning at Nossob started with the loud roar of a lion in the riverbed, was very close to camp. 8)
We were off to KTC. Our first four nights were all spend in different camps and we had to travel back on forth….this was due to changes we made to our booking at the 11th hour and we had to take what we could get. However, the driving was not an issue at all, we took it nice and slow and we actually saw a lot during these days.

Along the Nossob road we spotted this Black-shouldered Kite (right ID?). It is quite amazing their ability to hover on one spot.

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The wind started blowing and this continued for the remainder of our stay. However, as I mentioned before, the wind would go on during the day, but when the sun set it subsided only to start again later in the night.
The wind did not bug us, on the contrary, the animals seem to be more active, almost playful, and the dust made for stunning photos.

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The golden grass of the Kalahari.

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This gemsbok photo is worth having a “second” look at. :twisted:

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The roadside of the Nossob road was littered with Tsama melons. The fruit are currently ripening and been eaten by an array of animals. We had a good laugh at a Ground Squirrel that found such melon in the road and proceeded to try and bury the fruit that was almost as big as him. :lol:

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We saw some more snakes
The following one I think is a juvenile Mole Snake (will check with the forum experts). It appears not to have the “V” on the neck like the Dwarf Beaked Snake.

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This one I believe is a Kalahari Sand Snake….?

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Along the Nossob we also found a Cape Fox….unfortunately the little guy was too shy for us to get a photo. They are the most beautiful thinks!

The Upper Dune road gave us a Double-banded Courser

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On the Auob road we saw our first giraffes. To me it is still awkward seeing these animals against a red dune.

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A Secretary Bird resting in the shade.

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Our sighting of the day was a Southern White-faced Scops-Owl with her two chicks…very cute!

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A small distance on we found this Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl having a nice nap. We actually found him again the next day, in the same tree on the same branch.

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At Kalahari Tented Camp we treated ourselves with the Honeymoon unit. The unit is right at the end of the camp and gives you the greatest privacy. The unit also features a king-size bed and the bathroom has a bath and shower.

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It appeared that the waterhole was dry…the absence of animals also implies that it was without water for some time. I seems that this happens quite frequently. The situation was the same when friends of ours visited the camp last year.

To us our night in this unit was very sentimental. More than three years back we stayed in this unit when we heard that we are moving to Moz. :shock: Even though our lives changed considerably in these 3 years, the view from this unit stayed the same. :D (BTW, last time we here we actually saw a cheetah drink at the waterhole)

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And this is what it is all about…. :wink:

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PS: The above pic is especially for Bert, he just loves my SO’s back. :twisted:

Edited to change photo links from Tinypic to Flickr


Last edited by Jumbo on Mon Oct 02, 2006 1:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2006 11:14 am 
I’m glad you guys are enjoying this. :D

Bert, yip we will have to make a plan for you to meet my SO…there is more to him than his back :wink:

MM, the best snakes are still to come….I think you could say that I’m starting to become a unwilling herpetologist :roll:

Peter, our original reservation included Gharagab because we were planning to go with my Hilux. (I think after you’ve been to Gharagab, Bitterpan will not be sooo appealing anymore). We decided to cancel Gharagab when we planned to fly to Upington and rent the X-trail. The X-trail is a 4x4, but a soft-roader…do not have low-range. I believe this would not really be a problem, the big issue is however ground clearance. The X-trail is too low for those roads.
If you are planning to go to camps like Gharagab and Bitterpan, you have to think very carefully about what those nights are going to cost you extra just to get to them, because you will then need to rent a proper 4x4 and that is considerably more expensive.
I will still however recommend that people rent a SUV, or something with more height. The fringes of the Nossob road are very high (Auob not that much) and going in a normal sedan will be very frustrating.

Lynne, great to meet the brain behind the man! :D Yip, I think you guys should make a plan….maybe not in December though…the wilderness camps are the best and those tents will get very hot in December. Also at camps like Urikaruus, the power and thus the fans are only on at night.

Krok, I wish you guys a wonderful trip…you might be seeing the babies arriving….we saw some heavy pregnant mothers

Penny, I’ve reply to your mail. Have a great time!. :wink:


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2006 11:34 am 
Day 4: Grootkolk (Part 1 of 2)

This day was a long day and thus we also have too many photos to add to one post …am splitting it up in 2.
We left KTC as the gates opened at 06:30 because we had to get to Grootkolk and that was about 270km away (was also not planning to do it like the guy I reported the previous day. He “managed” to do the trip from Grootkolk to KTC in 6 hours! He came past us at about 100km/h :evil: )

A beautiful sunrise greeted us.

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Hundreds of doves came for their morning drink. They literally looked like a swarm of insects and the sound of their wings broke the morning silence.

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A Secretary bird looking for his breakfast

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And so we were happily driving along when this lady came around the corner. :D

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Following her was her sisters and young brother. (Eish, today was also my day for “chopping” of parts from animals :roll: )

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They strolled past our car and continued down the road, looking very interested in some blue wildebeest and springbok in the riverbed.

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The wind however did not play along and their breakfast ran away.

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Disgusted about their lost breakfast they gave us a bum-shot and off they went.

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A huge herd of giraffe in the Auob.

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They had the smallest babies 8) (there were actually quite a lot of young ones…seems their number are increasing quite well). I wonder if giraffes can have twins…..these two seems as though they could have been born at the same time. The whole herd were giving the two a lot of attention…sniffing them

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A Goshawk taking flight

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Eish, these Crimson-breasted Shrikes has mastered the ability to stuff up a photo…they just won’t sit still, and if they do, they normally have their backs turned to you. :roll:
At Nossob I got my chance and then I stuffed it up…cut of his tail. I do however have an excuse…was a bit shaken up after two Freestate Boere wanted to kill my SO after I told them they were driving to fast and we saw a snake they killed…the one guy’s wife said to me that I will not dare to tell a “boer” what he should do…a tad annoyed by this, I replied by saying that I do not care if he is a boer or the Queen of England, he should stick to the rules….that got them a bit upset :roll: … story for another day. :wink:
This Crimson-breasted Shrikes came and sat on a branch right in front of the car and I had one shot, through the windscreen.
This red is almost sinful in this environment

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Another juvenile Bateleur

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What am I? :?
These guys also unfortunately love basking inside the road and actually get so lazy that they do not get away when cars approach…on several occasions I actually had to stop and drive around them. They are also well camouflaged and if you do not look out for them you will drive over them.

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Along the way we found a Red Hartebeest in a tree…unfortunately we could not find his tree-climbing partner. Must have been a big guy to take a grown Hartebeest (as seen from the horns) into the tree. :shock:

Edited to change photo links from Tinypic to Flickr


Last edited by Jumbo on Mon Oct 02, 2006 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 6:43 am 
gwendolen wrote:
A hartebeest in a tree! :shock: Wow.


We could not get a clear shot…on this photo you can at least see the one horn…the white seemed to be a jawbone. Quite amazing that a leopard can get such a big antelope into a tree!!

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 6:53 am 
Day 4: Grootkolk (Part 2 of 2)

We only arrived at the camp late afternoon. This time round we stayed in unit # 1 ….last time it was # 4. Unit 1 is closer to the waterhole.
We had a nice chat with our neighbour in # 2…really a nice guy and seems to be very keen on the Kgalagadi (said it was something like his 4th time in the park this year) I was very stupid, should have told him about the forum and asked him to join. :wall: He said something that we also noticed…there is a noticeable absence of vultures in the park :?

The very tame Sociable Weavers greeted us. Some were so tame that while I was doing the dishes, they came and sat on the edge of the basin, checking out what I’m doing.

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The Stripped mice also came to say “hi”. You actually have to take care to keep you tent’s door close; these guys constantly try to get in. Well at least the ones near us found a bush that kept them occupied.

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Our view from the unit

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Late afternoon a herd of wildebeest came for a drink.

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They were quite playful and kicked up the dust that, with the sunset, made a beautiful sight.

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As the sun disappeared….

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The moon arrived…and with that quite an exciting evening.

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I’m posting the following photo of the wildebeest at the waterhole as to give you guys an idea how far the waterhole was from our unit….+- 20m

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As dark fell, we lit our fire and went on with our preparations for dinner. The waterhole was lit, although it is not a very bright spotlight. We saw a steenbok and jackal came for a drink and after that a spotted hyena.
Then at one stage I came out of the tent and looking at the waterhole I saw something quite big…..I looked again….and again…and there was a huge male lion drinking a mere 20 m from us. :shock:
Our neighbours were also busy with their dinner and I attracted their attention with our spotlight. This guy had a much stronger light and we were able to see the beautiful lion more clearly. The irony is, we all tried to attract the attention of the people in unit 3 and 4, but they were a group and were busy with their own party, not at all bothering about the waterhole (were actually quite noisy as well). They eventually missed the lion. :?
After the lion finished his drink, he walked a few meters and then went to lie down….and there he stayed.

Ok, so now we have a male lion a few meters away and we still need to braai and eat…. I’m not normally a scared person, but eish wena….every time I looked at the wall around our braai area it seemed like it shrunk a few centimetres. :shock:
Anyhow we fished the braai and ate while the lion stayed.
When we went to bed he was still on the same spot.

Grootkolk in the morning

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Sorry guys, that is it for now, I will finish my report when I’m back in Maputo again. A hint on the big sighting we had on our last day: LCT (“C” is not for climbing) :twisted:

Edited to change photo links from Tinypic to Flickr


Last edited by Jumbo on Mon Oct 02, 2006 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 8:45 am 
With a nice 33 degrees in Maputo yesterday the defrosting process took faster than I thought :lol: …so here is the next instalment.

Day 5: Urikaruus

Today we had yet another long day’s drive from Grootkolk to Urikaruus.

Our first sighting was that of Black-headed Herons. According to Sasol they are more seen in grasslands than next to water, but it is still strange for me to see them in an environment like the Kalahari.

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A Red Hartebeest. I still cannot contemplate a leopard getting something big as this into a tree….the carcass was still in the same spot when we passed the tree en-route to Nossob

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We “spotted” two Spotted Eagle-Owls. When you start making a point of looking for the owls, you will be amazed as to how many you will find in the Kgalagadi. Unfortunately the light was very bad and they were hidden behind branches thus on the photos you only see two blobs in the tree. :roll:

Some Red-necked Falcons doing the “early morning feather ruffling” thing….. :wink:

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Is this guy trying to do the same thing to his car!!!! :shock:
A brilliant way to look for the lion that left fresh spoor and dung as a clue. :evil:

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We have see quite a lot of juvenile Goshawks….I wonder if the good rain has something to do with it?

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Another Spotted Eagle-Owls…this guy refused to show us his yellow eyes.

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A few meters away from Nossob’s gate we had our sighting of the day. When we arrived the Black-backed Jackal was wrestling with a huge snake while a juvenile Goshawk and juvenile Bateleur was sitting close-by, watching every move. We were wondering whether the Jackel was the one that initially got hold of the snake or that he merely took the kill of from the Bateleur.
They were far away from the road inside the riverbed. Thus the photos are bad quality, but at least you should be able to see the action. :?

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Every now and then the jackal would grab the snake and shake it around viciously.

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From the thickset body and colour we think the snake might be a Mole Snake.

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We actually hoped it was a Mole Snake because on the following photo you can see the snake biting the Jackal on the head. After this the Jackal also had some blood on his head.

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It appears that Nossob is the place to get a shot of a Crimson-breasted Shrike…..just difficult to get a nice shot…..almost as if it is ashamed of its scarlet breast.

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This was our first stay at Urikaruus and based on the great reviews of this camp in report from forumits like Katydownunder, we booked 4 nights to really experience the camp. After staying in different camps every night before this, it was great to actually unpack the car, knowing that we do not need to pack again the next day.
We stayed in unit # 4 and had a fantastic view on the waterhole.

This photo was taken from our bedroom that is a level above the kitchen area…what a view!

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Taken from the braai deck in front of the kitchen.

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Magical! :thumbs_up:

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Edited to change photo links from Tinypic to Flickr


Last edited by Jumbo on Mon Oct 02, 2006 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 11:36 am 
Day 6: Urikaruus

After all the driving of the previous days we decided to take a day off and stay in camp the whole day. In any case, the water hole at Urikaruus is so busy that you can have great game viewing from the comfort of your bed. That is exactly what we did…made a big flask of coffee, opened the flaps of the tent and laid in bed, watching the waterhole. 8)

The view onto the waterhole from the bedroom balcony, below you can see the braai deck.

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On your first day at Kieliekrankie we rolled down the flaps of the tent and found it filled with ground and stones. We figured it might be a mouse that was planning to make the rolled-up flap its house. At Urikaruus the same happened, when we rolled down the flap the first night, a heap of sand, stones and even some threads fell out. The next morning when we rolled up the flaps, it wasn’t even a minute before this guy came to sit on the balcony.

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And then he did this…..

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And this. :D

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We are not 100% sure about its ID. It looks like a Chat Flycatcher. What bugs us, is that when it goes and sits, it flickers its wings as Sasol describe the Spotted Flycatcher does. :? Will appreciate help with the ID, I still have a lot of pix of it.
This has to be the most stubborn LBJ I have ever encountered. Every day this bird spends all its time carrying all kinds of things into the rolled up flap. Late afternoon, when we had to close the flaps for the cold evening, it would go crazy, flapping around us as its whole day’s labour fell out. The next morning, it would start from scratch again. I felt terrible closing the flaps, but would not be able to survive the evening with the open door. :( I am also wondering whether it was actually making a nest….most of the stuff it carried in was lumps of ground and stones????

From the comfort of our beds we also had nice bird sightings.

An Ashy Tit

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Some other bird sightings were: Swallow-tailed Bee-eater, Crimson-breasted Shrike, African Hoopoe, Yellow Canary, Grey Hornbills and a Kori Bustard that came for a drink at the waterhole

The waterhole was quite busy with springbuck, gemsbok, ostriches, blue wildebeest and jackals.

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This was also a very windy day…strong winds. Luckily the wind was coming from the back and did not bother us at all. The wind really does seem to affect the animals. Every now and the gemsbok, springbok and wildebeest would chase each other and have mock fights.

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Late afternoon we went for a short but slow drive. Because of Urikaruus’ location and it being close to gate-closing time, we were the only people on the road….absolute bliss. :D The wind brought in some clouds and with the late afternoon sun all the colours came to life. We were travelling at 15km/h with all the windows and sunroof open and it was one of our nicest drives of the trip.

Close to camps we saw this Red-crested Korhaan…the only one we saw this trip.

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A Purple Roller

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I’m posting the following photo even though it is terrible....need help with the ID…might this be a Pygmy Falcon? We only got one shot and that was while the car was still bumping on the road. A Goshawk spoiled the next shot when it swooped down and stole the kill. :evil: If I look at red eye, stripes on the tail and wing and the size compared to the striped mouse, I do think it is a female Pygmy Falcon. Eish, pity about the pics. :wall:
It is a Pygmy Flacon…thanks Elsa, Johann &JB

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A Kalahari Scrub-Robin

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At one of the lookout points we had our second sighting of Bat-eared Foxes. :D

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Striped variation of the Tawny Eagle?

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The hyperactive Swallow-tailed Bee-eater

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The closest this environment will get to “rush-hour” :wink:

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Pix of the camp:
Unit #4.

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The seed of the Camel Thorn tree. There are a wide variety of animals eating these seeds. At our unit in Urikaruus we had a Camel Thorn in front and to the side of the unit. The springbuck and wildebeest came close to the unit to eat the fallen seeds. The mice and rats also love it. We have also seen the giraffes eating it.

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And after a hard day of doing nothing…. :roll: :D

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Edited to change photo links from Tinypic to Flickr and to add bird ID


Last edited by Jumbo on Mon Oct 02, 2006 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 7:43 am 
Day 7: Urikaruus (Part 1 of 2)

Today was suppose to be a short relaxing day but it turned out to be longer than we thought and a long day means more photos, thus I’m splitting it in 2.
On the subject of photos, I have reduced the size of my photos from +- 2.5MB to an average of 35kb per photo. I figured a pic is a great way to share the story and thus decided to go for more photos at lower sizes. Unfortunately not all my photos take kindly to the reduction in size and thus quality, but I’m sure you guys will get the general “picture”. :?

We were out of camp at 06:30 for a nice and slow morning drive. The sun welcomed us in all its glory. :D

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Two gemsbok greeting the day.

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A delicate steenbok freezes it the face of potential danger

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But the danger tiptoes past, probably with a mousy breakfast on its mind

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A Yellow Mongoose curiously watches the morning antics of his thicker tailed neighbours.

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What a great way to start the day: a head massage from the family! 8)

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Just make sure that these generous family members do not get an unexpected fright, resulting in them using the nearest head as a springboard :shock:

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The yellow mongoose neighbour obviously did not find all this activity very interesting :roll:

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After a nice looooong stretch, off he went….

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just as the squirrels dug into their hi-fibre, fat-free Grass Pops

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These jackals had a tougher time getting their breakfast. We do not know what was in that heap of branches, but it had to be something nice to attract the attention of 4 jackals altogether. They actually worked together with two on one side and the other on the other side. I think it might have been a snake because every now and then after jumping into the heap, and digging, they would retreat quite fast.

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The one jackal trying to remove some of the obstacles between him and his food

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Unfortunately our presence there attracted the attention of several other vehicles and this attention deterred the jackals…..their prey could live another day.

Springboks sleeping-in…considering that their human counterparts actually get paid to do this while the whole nation cheer them on, I do not think we should be too hard on these guys. :roll:

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My SO and I are having a wee bit of a dispute as to who can lay claim to the following sighting, some arbitrations on this issue would be appreciated:
About 1km before Batulama I spotted fresh spoor of lions. Meticulously examining the spoor, I came to the conclusion that it was VERY fresh (SO was a bit sceptical)…..we had strong winds the previous nights and these spoor had very sharp edges so I was sure (SO not). While driving I followed the spoor, letting the SO know when the spoor drifted to his side and asking him to tell me when it came to mine. We trekked the spoor to very close to the waterhole where it disappeared into the riverbed.
At the waterhole some blue wildebeest were just departing after their morning drink, looking very much at ease.
I was driving, and knowing that this fresh spoor went into the riverbed close to the waterhole, I stopped and switched of the car. SO took the binoculars, and by absolute chance, saw the male lion on the crest of the dune just before it went to lie down between some bushes. Afterwards I was able to just, just see its head with the bushy manes.
This was our third lion sighting of the trip, in your opinion, who can lay clam to it??? :? :twisted:

Some gemsbok also that had a serious dispute (doubt it was also about a lion sighting)… I do not think arbitration would have had an effect in this scenario

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The Tawny Eagle I photographed the previous day, joins the SO at their nest

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I eventually figured out how to “get” the Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters…..patience. Normally when you approach they are swooping around and are very camera shy. We switched of our car and waited. It appears that the like to go and look for insects in the sand edges of the road. If you wait a while and they go down to the ground it gives you the opportunity for some nice shots 8) (also got some like these later in the trip)

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Part 2 will follow….not for the fainthearted :twisted:

Edited to change photo links from Tinypic to Flickr


Last edited by Jumbo on Mon Oct 02, 2006 4:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 3:08 pm 
Day 7: Urikaruus (Part 2 of 2)

After our relaxing morning drive we returned to the camp. Arriving, we received a message that we urgently need to contact some family. John, the very nice Tourist Assistant at Urikaruus, contacted Mata Mata to enquire whether the phone booth there was operational. It was out of order and thus we had to travel down to Twee Rivieren for cell reception.

On our way to 2R we drove 50km/h, not really planning to do game viewing. All of the sudden I spotted something yellow in the road….

…and there HE was! :shock:

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This magnificent Cape Cobra crossed the road and started inspecting the area. He was very fast to spread his hood, but even with this sign of aggression it did not appear as if our presence were frightening him….went on with his business.

It was a big snake…cannot really capture that on a photo :?

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Relaxed he moved on the verge of the road, only looking at us now and then, and then spreading its hood, just to tell us who is boss. :twisted: We had to keep our distance because the top of the verge were very high…almost the height of the our windows. At one point another vehicle approached and we tried to show the occupant the snake…but they did not really understand us at first. With all the commotion of trying to tell the people what to look for, the snake got agitated and went into a hole. From there he cautiously stared at us.

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As we all settled and switched off the cars, the cobra reappeared but still had the hood, just to let us know…..

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Look at that body!

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We eventually left him when he made moves to cross the road again…right at our car! Really did not want a Cape Cobra climbing into the engine…something they apparent are quite fond off. :shock:

A Martial Eagle {Actually it is a Black-chested Snake-Eagle…thanks Johann :wink: }

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A “mini-pano” of Gemsbokplein :? …I tried to get the huge number of animals that was visiting the waterhole. The Auob riverbed definitely has more game than the Nossob.

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Upon our return from Twee Rivieren we had yet another great sighting…this guy :roll: :

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This is for sure the biggest Puff Adder I have ever seen.

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I have cropped the following photo in order to show you something that I have never realized…was actually a bit of a shock to me
Look at the thin spoor left by this huge snake… it seems that it is basically only the tip of its tail that leave a mark.

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Lately we had a lot of this type of “spoor” at the back of our Marloth house…I thought its was probably made by the tiny Vine Snake I found a while ago….eish wena! :shock:

Our welcome back at camp :D

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Ever noticed how the springbok attracts the last rays of sun at the end of the day?

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Mirror, mirror at my feet….

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“Nope, that puppy face is definitely not going to work on me!” :twisted:

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Our mood was however very sombre this evening. I do not know what it is with the Kgalagadi and us; during every one of our last three visits we either received bad or shocking news. I think God in His wisdom knows that we will be able to handle things like this much better while looking at such a sunset:

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The sky literally looked like it was painted

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Edited to change photo links from Tinypic to Flickr and to add bird ID


Last edited by Jumbo on Mon Oct 02, 2006 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 5:26 pm 
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Reading through your report and looking at the pics make me long for Kgalagadi once again. Can't wait to go back as soon as possible.


Just a quick note on some of your raptors:

Looks like a male Pygmy Falcon to me. (female has got black on the back)
Could very well be the striped form of the Tawny. Will have a look in my Raptor guides tonight.
And then lastly, your Martial is actually a Black-chested Snake-Eagle. (notice the bare legs)

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Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 7:54 am 
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Jumbo wrote:
...the Black-chested Snake-Eagle now…might have seen them before but also presumed that it was a Martial Eagle...
Concerning the “Tawny”, I have a photo of the same eagle the next day, it was with his/her mate on the nest…page 7
OK, while I got your attention, what about the Flycatcher on Page 6? :pray:


Easy to miss the BCSE or confuse them with Martial from far away. You probably saw more of them in KTP than the Martial. They are all over the place. And the Martial, according to a guide, move from inside Botswana to KTP. But I think that was in winter.
Got home a bit late last night, so couldn't check and make sure about the Tawny. But looking at the nest and its mate it sure looks like it. Have never seen a striped variation before myself. 8)
Quick look at your Flycatcher and I do believe it is a Chat Flycatcher (Grootvlieëvanger) They are all over KTP, sometimes in the same tree with the Marico Flycatcher. Little bit smaller but easily distinguished from the Chat, with its white chest.

_________________
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
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Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2006 10:24 am 
Day 8: Urikaruus

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This is not such and exciting day, but it was wonderful to us. After spending most of the previous day on the road, we yet again decided that today we are doing the “bed game viewing” thing. We spend the day lazing around….opened all the tent flaps, reading a good book and every now and looking up at what is at the waterhole. The flycatcher was again carrying all kinds of objects into the rolled up flap. The waterhole was busy with blue wildebeest, springbok, ostriches, gemsbok and jackals.

A lone giraffe also came for a drink. As seen from our bedroom balcony 8) :

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Late afternoon we went for a short drive again.

The “Dry Western” variety of the Common Fiscal???

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A Scaly-feathered Finch

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At Dertiende Boorgat we had our second giraffe sighting for the day

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These three youngsters were quite skittish, and we got a few nice shots of them spaying the water.

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A walking fountain :lol:

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A Greater Kestrel??

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Close to camp we found this ostrich that has lost the feathers on her one wing…I wonder how that happened? :?

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Back at camp the springbok were yet again inspecting its mirror image.

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And some other were settling a score before the night falls.

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Our last evening of this trip. :cry:

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Later the evening we saw some springhare. Every night we also heard owls. Mostly we heard the White-faced Scops-Owl and two of the four nights we also heard the Giant Eagle Owl.

Coming up: Our drive out the next day was our best game-viewing day of the whole trip! :wink:


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Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2006 10:27 am 
Day 9: Goodbye, with hop, swoop and a bang (Part 1 of 4)

This was really a good day. Our trip from Urikaruus to Twee Rivieren delivered great sightings, and thus also a lot of photos…I’m again splitting up the report for download purposes.

Our day started with a real treat! Just after we turned into the Auob road from Urikaruus, an African Wild Cat raced across the road. I’ve been looking for thus guy the whole trip! We unfortunately did not get a chance for a photo…he was over the road, stopped a brief second to glance at us, and on he went. WOW! 8)

A Goshawk enjoying the early morning sun as the moon says goodbye.

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Today the springboks were going completely bonkers….racing after each other and hopping all over the place. :lol: It is not easy to get a nice shot of these jumping-jacks because they are so fast. The honour for these pix goes to my SO. :wink:

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Look at that puffed up backside

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Gemsbok at Kamqua

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This was one of only two vulture sighting….really strange the absence of vultures. As I said before, it was not just us who noticed it. :?

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There was really something in the air and we found another hopping herd {Pix taken by SO}

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This photo is out of focus, but to the Saffies: doesn’t this pose look familiar? :wink:

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To be continued…


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