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Madach in SA (April 2007)

Tell us about your breathtaking experiences in the parks

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madach
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Unread postby madach » Mon May 07, 2007 4:34 pm

I'm back from my trip to KTP and Kruger. KTP rocked as it always does and Kruger was a bit tame (although I saw two leopards and black rhino so I guess I really can't complain).
I'll write up a trip report with pics in a couple of days, but here are a couple of pics from the KTP to keep you interested...

Leopard near Twee Rivieren
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African Wild Cat near Leeudril waterhole
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African Wild Cat near 13de Boorgat waterhole
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Scops Owl at Nossob hide
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madach
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Leopard sighting near Twee Rivieren

Unread postby madach » Sat May 12, 2007 12:14 pm

Last month I was in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park for just over a week and a half. On the third day of our stay we had one of the best leopard sightings I've ever had. On the second day of our stay we drove the Nossob road from Twee Rivieren to Dikbaardskolk. From Dikbaardskolk we used the dune road to go to the Aoab riverbed and drove back to Twee Rivieren using the Aoab road. This is a pretty long drive but we didn't see much so we made good time and were back in Twee Rivieren around 14h00. In the afternoon we drove the Nossob road to KijKij waterhole and then returned using the same road. The following morning we decided to drive the Nossob road to KijKij, cross the dunes to the Aoab riverbed and ake our way North to Mata Mata. When we drove the Nossob riverbed I noticed that there weren't a lot of cars on the road and I got the feeling that we were missing something (the feeling you get when you drive out of camp In Kruger in the morning and you turn left and everybody else turns right :lol:)

I was photographing some whistling rats next to the dune road when a SANP bakkie stopped next to us to check what we were looking at. We chatted a bit and I remarked that it was very quiet. The response was 'the other cars are probably at the leopard kill' :shock:

As it turned out a leopard had made a kill on the Mata Mata dune road just before Samevloei waterhole. It had made the kill in the daytime and the kill was next to the road now. We drove that road the day previous and we estimate that it made the kill 30 minutes to an hour after we were there :evil: As we only drove the Nossob road after it made the kill we missed it :?

We decided to drive to the kill to see if the leopard was still there. Unfortunately it had left an hour before we arrived. The kill was still there though and there was a lot of meat left.

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We decided that the leopard would probably return to the kill as there was lots left to eat so we decided to do a stake out. We drove back to Twee Rivieren and filled our cooler-box with drinks and food and drove back to the kill. It was a sweltering 37 degrees that day and we waited for seven (7!) hours at the kill that day. Around 17h15 we first saw the leopard. It was on the other side of the dune and it was looking at us through the grass. It disappeared for 20 minutes but then it decided that it had cooled down enough to get a bite to eat.

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It walked to the kill and started to move the kill and for a minute I was afraid that it was going to drag the kill to the other side of the dune. Fortunately it didn't do that and by moving the kill our visual of it actually improved 8)

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It fed at the kill for about 35 minutes and then it left the kill. The sunlight was unfortunately blocked by a camper that was standing in front of us so the light wasn't perfect but other than that it was a perfect sighting. The kill was in plain view next to the road and the leopard ate from the kill facing us. It doesn't get any better than this!

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African Wild Cat sightings in KTP

Unread postby madach » Sat May 12, 2007 12:55 pm

I've been in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park three times now, but I've never seen so many African Wild Cats as last April. I think that in total we saw 10 AWC's in 11 days. Some of the cats were relaxed enough to take some decent pictures of. Two of the cats were even hunting whistling rats next to the road.

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When you want to see an African Wild Cat then in the KTP your best chance is early morning or late afternoon near the waterholes. Look for them in the small bushes right next to the roads (they seem to love those for camouflage) and look in the trees.

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Unread postby madach » Tue May 15, 2007 8:02 pm

The Kruger part of the trip was less exciting than the KTP part of the trip. We were in Kruger when SA had a long weekend so Kruger was unbelievably busy. Getting out of your car in places where it wasn't allowed was national sport (just like speeding and misbehaving, more about that later this week). Because the park was so busy every sighting was very crowded.
Rhinos were all over the place in the South. Especially in the Biyamiti area you couldn't go round a bend without bumping into one. I guess we saw 40+ rhino in eight days. Elephants also seemed to be concentrating in the Biyamiti area. In the first five days we maybe saw 30-40 ellies and in the last three days in the South we saw loads.


We did have some nice sightings, but most of them were either very crowded, far away or the light wasn't right so for photography it wasn't my best trip ever. We still had a lot of fun though and enjoyed ourselves looking at the smaller stuff like mongooses and birds.

Here are some pics from the Kruger trip:
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madach
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Unread postby madach » Tue May 15, 2007 9:14 pm

Haupie wrote:i am shocked that this is described as 'wasn't my best trip ever'... surely you are joking! in past 5 visits to the KNP i have not seen leopard or cheetah! i get tears in my eyes reading about these sightings

Over the years we've been spoiled in Kruger with sightings. On each and every trip to Kruger we've seen one or more leopards. Only on one trip we didn't see lion or rhino. We've witnessed a rhino relocation, we've seen wild dogs five or six times. Cheetah on at least half of our trips and we've seen leopard and lion make kills. For most people this sounds incredible, and I realise that our sightings over the last couple of years have been incredible (friends of ours in SA always say we're jinxed :lol:).

Maybe the comment about the trip not being exciting isn't really fair when you've seen the big five twice in one day with cheetah and black rhino to add to that. What I meant was that it wasn't the best trip for photography :redface:

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Unread postby madach » Tue May 15, 2007 10:49 pm

Here are some shots I took in the KTP. The KTP was stunning as always. We had lots of rain (which I wasn't expecting) but most of it fell at night. We stayed in KTP for 11 nights and every night there were thunderstorms in the East (Botswana). According to Jannie this was pretty unusual and he thought that it might be a very cold winter this year in the KTP.

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I'll post some more pictures when this topic reaches a new page (otherwise dialup users will be frustrated with all the pictures that have to load on this page)

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Unread postby madach » Sun Jun 10, 2007 11:47 am

I've finally had the time to sort out all the pics from KTP. You can find a selection of those pics here.

Enjoy!

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Unread postby Salva » Mon Jun 11, 2007 12:17 pm

The BBJ's with the springbok head are :shock: :shock: :shock:

The stalking AWC is also a winner!
U lacht en U heeft gelijk dat U lacht maar het is niet om mee te lachen

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Unread postby madach » Mon Jun 11, 2007 3:42 pm

Salva wrote:The BBJ's with the springbok head are :shock: :shock: :shock:

Those pics were taken when the cheetah left the kill. The BBJ's immediately went for the remains of the kill. I had been waiting for that as I was anticipating some interaction between the BBJ's. None of the other cars watched the BBJ's, they were all watching this cheetah disappear in the distance. I was the only one at the sighting that took pics of the BBJ's. The other cars missed some great photo opportunities.

M

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Unread postby madach » Tue Jun 12, 2007 8:41 pm

I've added the pics from my trip to Kruger on my website. You can find the image gallery here.

The trip report will (probably) follow later 8)

Enjoy!

M.


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