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 Post subject: The Great Thirstland : April 2007
Unread postPosted: Sat May 05, 2007 4:31 pm 
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Saturday, 28th April 2007

The day started off early at Augrabies and we had breakfast while appreciating a wonderful sunrise. We were excited as we were making our first trip to the KTP. A troop of baboons thought we had too much luggage and “tried helping” us but a few firm “shoo” send them packing.

We were soon in Upington and Askham and then the Molopo Lodge. Deflated our tyres to 160 at the lodge as advised by Michelle Nel. The tar road now goes 15km beyond the lodge and only 45km of dirt road to do. The road was in good condition for the most part but there are a few stretches that are badly corrugated.

Arrived at Twee Rivieren (TR) at 11.45am and were ready for the long drive to Mata Mata (MM) which is 120km away and takes about two and a half hours as per the guide I had just purchased. We had read so much about the Auob river bed in various guides and it was also highly recommended by Penny and Michelle. However we thought it was the wrong time of the day. How wrong we were as we got to MM six hours later. Here are some of the reasons why.

It all started with a black back jackal snoozing in the river bed.
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A car passed us and then another and we wondered why. We soon found out the in the KTP jackals are sighted around each bend.

The jackal had set the tone and we soon found other animals sitting in the riverbed.

Gemsbok
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Wildebeest
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Ostrich
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Springbok
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The lone springbok sitting in the riverbed is the territorial male but the herd was not far away.
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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 1:06 pm 
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We are still heading north towards MM alongside the Auob riverbed. We see a kori bustard
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and a crimson breasted shrike
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and then a cheetah that has gorged itself to the full.
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We had read in various books that the Auob riverbed is probably the best place in the world to see a cheetah kill. We obviously had missed the kill but later, at a picnic site, met the man who witnessed it all – how wonderful.

Next was a very intriguing interplay between a yellow mongoose and what I thought was a juvenile pale chanting goshawk that went on for about 20 minutes.
Image

A bat eared fox
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And eventually an African wild cat that hung around long enough to be photographed (had glimpses of two cats earlier)
Image

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Unread postPosted: Mon May 07, 2007 6:28 pm 
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Bush Baptist wrote:
Straight into the good stuff hey Sharifa, I always like seeing CBS, and Kgalagadi cheetah.

Juvenile PCGs are brown but still have the pink/orange legs. I cannot see from your photo, but my eyes are not right.


Hi BB, at first we thought the mongoose was after some eggs but after inching closer so as not to frighten either of them away we made it to be a juvenile PCG. See photo herewith - what do you make of it?

Image

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Unread postPosted: Mon May 07, 2007 7:12 pm 
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We were now approaching the Craig lockhardt waterhole and sorry to report that there was not much happening here Penny.

As we got close to the Sitszas waterhole we saw a car parked off, and then saw them

Image

Image

Image

A perfect ending to a perfect day.

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Unread postPosted: Mon May 07, 2007 7:19 pm 
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Sharifa, it looks a bit like a greater kestrel. They are quite common in the Nossob area.

Here's a GK we saw in 2005

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Unread postPosted: Tue May 08, 2007 8:45 pm 
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Thank you for that BB. Please check out all the raptors that follow and see if I got the ID correct.

Sunday, 29th April 2007

We left Mata Mata at 7.00 am as the gates opened and decided we will go till Kamqua picnic site and then return to Mata Mata.

If day one was all about the mammals of KTP then day two was all about the raptors. If I have incorrectly identified any of them please let me know.

Martial Eagle
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Secretary Bird
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Tawny Eagle
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Bateleur Eagle
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Brown Snake Eagle
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Pale Chanting Goshawk
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Pygmy Falcons.
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The best sighting we had for the day happened to quickly to capture on film. A lanner falcon plucked a bird out of the sky and made off to a distant tree. We could see it with binoculars and feathers were flying all over the place.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 6:46 pm 
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Monday, 30th April 2007
Once again we were out of the camp as the gates opened. Today we were heading south along the Auob riverbed and then were going to take the connecting dune road which would get us to the Nossob riverbed.
We saw an AWC not far from the camp but it did not hang around. Further south we saw this lovely steenbok
Image


and also giraffe, wildebeest and gemsbok.

Soon we were on the dune road and here is an idea of what the landscape is like
Image

Compared to this photo of springboks taken on the Auob river bed. The contrast can be seen.
Image

One would not expect to see game away from the riverbeds but we saw gemsbok, ostriches, springbok and another steenbok. We later learned at the dikbaardskolk picnic site that we had missed a cheetah sighting at the Eland waterhole by about half an hour.

The dune road is all of 50km and very undulating going up and down with the dunes, so if you are prone to motion sickness take the necessary precautions.

We then headed north along the Nossob riverbed and saw these lovely red hartebeest.
Image


We reached the turn off into Marie se draai and remembered how everyone had said that this road is magic. It was 11.45am and once again we thought the timing is all wrong. Once again we were wrong as barely a kilometer into the loop we saw two bat eared foxes and spent about twenty minutes with them as they hunted for insects. They would stand motionless listening intently for any sound from below the ground then dig profusely and come up with a juicy caterpillar or insect.
Image

Image

At Marie se gat we spend time with a gathering of gemsbok and ostriches.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu May 10, 2007 4:09 pm 
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We left Marie se Gat and were about two km from the main road leading back to Nossob when we saw this beautiful but very sleepy couple

Image

She did get up for a stretch

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but he could only manage a peep

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and the roll over to get more comfortable (you really going to enjoy this one Macho Mouse)

Image

but finally he did get to a sitting position for us

Image

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 8:18 pm 
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We went on to Nossob and checked in. There is a notice in reception warning visitors to watch out for jackals and sure enough when we started the braai the opportunists were soon there to see if they could snatch anything of the braai grid. A firm “shoo” sends them packing though.

After supper we went to the hide. It was a beautiful evening and we got comfortable hoping to catch something exciting but in the two hours we were there we had only a jackal visit, drink water and move on.

Tuesday, 1st May 2007

We were heading north today. We had heard that there were cheetah and leopard sightings between the Cubitje Quap and Kwang waterholes. A leopard was also spotted for the past two days at the Kannegauss waterhole. As it was our first time in the KTP and we wanted to see as much as we could so we decided to make the 200km round trip to Kannegauss and back.

We saw plenty wildebeest, gemsbok, springbok, ostriches and red hartebeest but the cats were not out today.

However we did get very lucky as we saw, just north of Bedinkt waterhole, the rarely seen

Image

Image


brown hyena.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 8:03 pm 
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We were back in Nossob at about 2.00pm and in the afternoon we just strolled around the camp checking out the swimming pool and getting entertained by the suricates and ground squirrels.

Over the years we have found that rest camps are a nice place to perhaps find some of the birds that you will not see on a game drive and Nossob did not disappoint us.

In a large tree immediately behind the shop are a breeding pair of white face owls, so, I imagine they will still be around when you get there Michelle and Arks.

Image

And this cute little fella, the diminutive pearl spotted owlet, was in a tree between the shop and chalet 10A

Image


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon May 14, 2007 7:37 pm 
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Wednesday, 2nd May 2007.

Today was our last day in the KTP. We were going to drive from Nossob to Twee Rivieren and then back to Augrabies.
We left Nossob as the gates opened and made one last trip to Marie se draai. It was a quiet day. Soon we were around the Gunong region and saw two antelope in the shade of a tree. The gemsbok stood still but the other antelope bolted and we thought hartebeest, but the gait was all wrong.
The fleeing antelope eventually stopped and we then realized that it was a baby gemsbok.

Image


Soon it was back with mummy and all was well.

Image

About 5km north of Twee Rivieren we saw a car parked off and they were looking up towards the rocky cliffs. They had seen a leopard and cub the previous day and were hoping they might see it again. They pointed out the crevice the leopard was using for a den. Unfortunately no leopard for us on this trip.

Summary

A wonderful experience in a wonderful NP. The game is not as varied as in KNP.
Very rustic and pristine and a trip to the KTP is really getting away from it all, no cell phone signals, no newspapers. No radio. Quality of sightings are great – no traffic jams. No unruly behavior and blaring radios and speedsters.
KTP or KNP – both very special offering different experiences. We are fortunate to have such magnificent parks on our doorstep.
Planning our next trip.
“Here is a thirstland with no certainties and with few explanations” (Creina Bond: National Parks of SA)


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