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 Post subject: Shaken...... and Stirred! A KTP Trip Report!
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 9:42 am 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
Just returned from an interesting trip to KTP - very different from our last September trip when there was a drought. This time the grass was long, the dunes were green, the animals were enjoying the time of plenty, and the roads......... wet and wild!

And as for the sightings..... some of the same, some not! But now, before I let the cat out of the bag, I must ask you forumites for some patience while I gather my thoughts and sort out lots of pix. (I’m afraid we hit the city running and I’m already ready to start planning our next trip for slowing down the pace of life)

To be continued.........

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Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 9:53 pm 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
29th /30th March

Left CT at 9.00am and after spotting zebra, eland and a giant kingfisher(all just past Marmesbury?)we saw the usual springbok, steenbok, korhaans and a kori bustard. The raptors kept us busy - lots of black shouldered kites, pale chanting goshawks and greater and rock kestrels. As for the eagles? Apart from a lone black eagle circling above a farmhouse near VanRhynsdorp, seemed as if they had all gone for takeouts in KTP! We slept over at a self catering chalet right in the middle of a vineyard near Keimoes, and met a troop of vervet monkeys raiding the vines.

The next morning, after all taking turns for a swing in a very comfy hammock, we were ready for our KTP experience. Made a quick stop at Upington Airport to pick up Wezl returning from a camp, hit the road and reached the dreaded gravel road to Twee Rivieren except....the gravel road was a relative dream. We kept our fingers crossed and arrived at TR after quite a smooth ride.(We did let our tires down to 1.6 bars as soon as we hit the gravel -31km stretch) After booking into the park, we were off to Mata Mata for our first night. We had just over 4 and a half hours to get to MM - in our vehicle that was classed as cutting it fine as our previous record for the MM to TR stretch was 6 hours.

The first 2kms of the road from TR to Samevloeing was great. There seems to be a quarry just inside the park which the contractors are using for the construction of the new road?. If this is true, was there an environmental impact study with public participation? Just past the turnoff to the quarry, the Presley song “All shook up” came into my head for the first of many times.

At Samevloeing - our first interesting bird, and a first for us in KTP, a Hamerkop!

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After that, a bashful big leopard? tortoise who thought he could squeeze under a branch....... I think I can,

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I know I can!

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Over the green dunes and on to the Auob riverbed - a Abdim’s stork at Houmoed - also showing how green it is.

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The dunes were pretty with the yellow Devil’s Thorn and Cat’s Tail flowers

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A wildie profile!

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Just before Auchterlonie we had a distant fleeting sighting of meerkats but no chance for pix.

A red necked falcon posed nicely for us.......

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Round about this time, we realized that the sky and light was changing. A storm coming perhaps?

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http://www.ast.uct.ac.za/~schurch/leopards/

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 11:49 am 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
Thanx for the comments everyone! :D

Some more feathers..... A Giant Eagle Owl

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A Lesser Grey Shrike

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A Swallow tailed Bee-eater

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And a well camouflaged Spotted Thick Knee

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A Martial Eagle...............

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being dive bombed by a Pale Chanting Goshawk( pix just to show the PCG’s cheek)

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And we got very excited when we came upon a family of bat eared foxes on the hunt - first of three sightings on this day. In previous trips these little foxes had been quite scarce and shy.

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A pair of Secretary birds on a nest

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And a handsome Tawny pair

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We passed quite a few big herds of springbok, wildebeest, gemsbok and red hartebeest. Also some giraffe at Kamqua. As for cat’s tails for the day - only pink! :lol:

Arriving at Mata Mata(2 minutes to spare), we booked into a family cottage - this pretty visitor was waiting in the kitchen...

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The sky was ominous so we decided to have a quick supper and paid the hide a visit - very quiet apart from a Rufous Cheeked Nightjar who seemed to have a buffet of insects to itself.

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A giant eagle owl and a black backed jackal put in a brief appearance and we then decided to have an early night. Just before midnight I woke up thinking I was still back in Cape Town - thunder and lightning and the heavens opened, and rain bucketed down for quite some time.

A nice quiet start to our trip! :D

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 4:38 pm 
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Hey! Don't forget that was the night I couldn't sleep.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 7:48 am 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
Lirritma,Mashona,icurrie,Pumbaa,Dotty,ingrid60,C.O'Dee and katydownunder - thanx for all your great comments! :D

Just a note on Eagle Eyes - she had a bit of a hard time this trip. At Keimoes, before we entered the park, her camera packed in and when we got to the park, she was shocked to find so many creepy crawlies everywhere. EE has a fear of them, but handled the situation very bravely, and survived the onslaught! As for the camera, EE did a lot of videoing, which made up for the broken camera.

Pix taking -just to clarify - a bit by Wezl, a bit by me and 75% + by markw!

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http://www.ast.uct.ac.za/~schurch/leopards/

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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 6:57 pm 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
31st March

A brand new day! We were out the gates at 6.30am. Near Sitzas a distant sighting of 2 lions on the dunes.

Then a Capped Wheatear on top of his world!

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A Jackal

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The roads were a bit wet and.... actually quite civilised - met this mature guy at Craig Lockhardt,

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strolling down the road greeting all and sundry, maybe announcing his presence to the lions at Sitzas.

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Too close for the camera!

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Sniffing the air!

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I think some of the forumites here have experienced ‘leeudril’. The feeling when a lion looks straight thru you. For me - my body turns to jelly and it seems like my soul shivers. Well this lion was different - he looked straight at us a number of times, but had the softest golden eyes.

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He lay down just off the road, had a brief bit of shuteye, then continued across the road and disappeared into the bush.

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Next up - a giraffe at Dalkeith

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Springbok testing each other at 14th borehole

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Tawny eagle above

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We turned around at Kamqua, after a quick pit stop. At the start of the 13th loop we met this steenbok who was licking/eating rocks on the road.(geophaging -eating earth) The steenbok’s side was quite bumpy - seemed like the insects were giving these buck a hard time . We saw this in other sightings as well.

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And a feathery family - look left, look right and look below!

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(All for now! I’ve used up all my kbs!)

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F2/2014


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 8:03 pm 
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Mashona wrote:
Some really good close up Lions.............

Well done, the Kalahari is really spoiling all and sundry


Steve


Ja this male Lion is that famous lion everyone sees with the injured lower jaw...it looks terribly sore but he manages...He hangs around near 14 boor hole and C Lochart/KTC area judging by all the pics posted over the last few months

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 8:28 pm 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
Thanx once again everybody! :D

Michele - never too early to pack your bags for KTP! :D And again WIP, when I can get onto the computer long enuf! :roll:

Pumbaa - wasn't he a handsome chap! :D

Peter Betts and Arks - looks like the same guy that has been featured before but thankfully his jaw didn't seem to be too bad. Arks -if you can compare pix, would be interested to know for certain. I spoke to KTFP afterwards and there has been reports of a strange male in that area as well.

BB -If you want to be shaken, you shouldn't be in CT! :lol:

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2008 7:45 am 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
31stMarch/1st April continued

Next up - a speeding road user

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But we did manage to catch up for a close up

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Near the start of the 14th borehole loop we spotted a dark ‘bush’ on the top of the dunes - a male lion. Another ostrich family - a bit bigger this time (seemed like an ostrich explosion all thru the park!)

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And at Craig Lockhardt - Beauty, not a beast!

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Lots of gorgeous birds - this black breasted snake eagle had just caught his lunch.

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Back to Kalahari Tented Camp for a full on brunch and some relaxing. We were quite disappointed that we had got unit 8. This unit has a big camel thorn tree right in front of it, so no view of the water hole. As it turned out, the water hole view was not going to be important this time. After cooling off in the pool, we left on our late afternoon drive.

Just after Craig Lockhardt we met another bat eared fox family, and stopped and watched their antics and hunting moves for a while.

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Spotted a Pearl spotted Owlet

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Then headed back to camp watching stormy skies.

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At KTC we had a very quick braai - very crispy flame grilled wors and chops. :lol: All around there was thunder and lightning, it just seemed like there was a tiny piece of sky right above the patio that was clear, and the air was so still it was eery. As we finished our hasty supper, the first raindrops fell and the wind started to gust. Phew! Good timing!

That night the wind blew and it poured. I thought that the tent was going to be blown away, the gusts were so strong. Every time a particularly strong gust would hit the tent, the velcrose on the tent flap (zips did not work) would come undone, and the rain would be blown in.

After a very long night, doing a lot of jumping out of bed and skating on a wet floor, to fight with the tent flap, morning arrived with clear skies. Only evidence of the night before - a few puddles in the road.

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On to Twee Rivieren today!
Just after Sitzas - this big guy intently watching the waterhole.

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With the grader revving right behind us, we reluctantly moved on. Lots of secretary birds were out scrutinizing the veld. We found a group of giraffe at Dalkeith and then this Tawny eagle.

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Followed by a juvenile Lanner Falcon

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Apart from the usual game at 14th borehole, some more giraffe with one lying down.(we have never seen this before)

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On to Kamqua picnic site where we pulled in next to a white double cab, which turned out to be Lirritma and the guys. After exchanging our sighting details for the morning, Lirritma left for Mata Mata, and we started to make our way down the Auob in the opposite direction. (hoping to find some of Gerrit’s cats)

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 6:37 pm 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
Just outside Kamqua, Eagle Eyes brought the car to an abrupt halt with her ‘Ooh -sooo cute’. We had to reverse a bit, and found...... a doting mom and little one(s).

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She did seem to be warning junior about the dangers of the world, and trying to get him back into the burrow....

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But curiosity was just too much for the young ones! They had to sneak a peak at us!

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Off to Kamfersboom where we found Lirritma’s cats(spot on directions Gerrit thanx) but we had found sleeping distant cats, and after a glimpse at a big male and two lionesses, as well as a few small ear tips further away, we moved on.

Near Munroe two cars were parked, and we found these lazy LOGs.

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One of the drivers beckoned us to come closer for a chat. He was very excited and told us we had exactly 3 minutes to get ready. We quickly positioned the car and waited. One LOG disappeared. The female stayed where she was, but watched to see what her mate was up to.

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Then a LIT appeared - He was intent on filling his tum!

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The LOG also disappeared and soon they were just spots in a tree. And we waited.....and waited..... More cars had arrived in the mean time, and these started to move off. And we waited...... and devoured lots of padkos to keep the tempers from being frayed. It was so hot!

By this time the only cars left were us and the excited driver and his family.

And then....... :shock: ..... :dance:

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Unread postPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 8:43 am 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
And then....... :D

They came down and mated showing some modesty at first. Then they moved in to the clearing......

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(I love the tail in this pix)

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A few seconds and it was over.

What big teeth you have Dear!

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Then straight back up into the tree. We waited a few minutes but it seemed that they were bedded down for the time being. But we were very happy with what we had seen. :dance: So ...on to TR!

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Unread postPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 6:46 pm 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
Our last shot....the female I think.

Image

At Houmoed , the now familiar sighting of the Abdim’s stork

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At TR, we booked in and got bungalow no. 5 - turned out to be our lucky number! :dance:

After satisfying the tum and chill factors, we popped out for an hour drive, and found the Samevloeing/Kij Kji road open. Just past Samevloeing - quite an unusual sight this trip - a sleeping male lion.

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At Skid corner(near Leeudril) a lot of mud and lots of springbok. This mom and babe caught our eyes.

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We had run out of time and turned back going past a now awake but ghostly lion.

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Mark caught the lovely sunset.

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A quick supper, then while busy chatting, we looked up to see that we had a shy visitor sitting at the braai light. I don’t know how long the cape fox had been checking us out, but as soon as we tried to move quietly(but not doing a good job as we were so excited), he ran off into the bush. Eish! We were really pleased even though we had had no time to take a pix.


2nd April
A beautiful sunrise.

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We decided to do a drive up to Melkvlei as the road was still open. Very quiet until....just after Rooiputs we came across a very relaxed lioness.

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Then we saw the jackals hanging around and soon found the wildebeest kill with 2 other lionesses in attendance. This was quite far away, but we were very happy to see a few little ear tips every now and then - there were cubs! We watched for a bit, but, as they seemed to be going nowhere for a while, we decided to make a pit stop at Melkvlei.

Near Kij Kij....

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A quick stop at Melkvlei and on the way back a posing Red necked falcon

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And a cape cobra crossing the road - not too small!

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After this we saw one that had not been so lucky, and the poor thing was still alive. Hopefully a snake eagle would find him soon.

And then we discovered that the 2 lionesses had moved closer to the road, but in the shade of a dead tree surrounded by tall grass. And a few meters away........ three cubs!

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The other lioness had moved on to the distant kill.

And then. :shock: .... we could not believe our eyes!

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 10:42 am 
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Especially for Lirritma! :D

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 10:50 am 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
A cute thrill this time! :wink:

The lioness left the kill and walked closer to the road, but she was being followed........

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Just being together!

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What’s out there Mom?

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Feeding time!

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And sleeping time.... with a watchman!

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 1:42 pm 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
The family seemed to be settling down, and we had planned to do quite a few excursions this day, so off we went to investigate Rooiputs 4x4 campsite. On the way.... a typical KTP landscape, just a bit greener than usual.

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Turned off the road and started down the track to the campsite, and kept on thinking about Dreamer and family. They had done the same thing as us, and ended up getting stuck and stranded for a while, at one of the campsites. The A frames came into view, and, as we went along, I realized that we were lucky as it had rained recently and the track was quite firm, just a few soft patches near the A frames. Well - Rooiputs is now on our ‘To Do’ list. We headed back to the road and I started to relax - just in time to take a pix of the yellow meadow.

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Then back to TR! This afternoon we were doing the Leeudril 4x4 trail - the only vehicle - however I did tell reception that if we were a minute late, they must please come look for us. I felt much happier after that!

The trail was very relaxing - one or two steepish dunes, but mostly following a grassy track with a few close thorn bushes (ok - I’m allowed to freak out a bit - it was our new car after all). A quiet afternoon - a quiet water hole but we did see secretary birds, kori bustards, a jackal and a gemsbok.

The way up!
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And the way down!(taken after the turn at the bottom)
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Then we hit the Auob!

A Scaly feathered finch!

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On to Achterlonie for a quick break, then homeward bound. At Kamfersboom, a lion and lioness lay on the top of the ridge. A few kms north of Munroe :dance: ......a couple of spots.

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The male

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And the female

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We watched them for a bit, and, at one stage we thought we would see action of a different kind as the female had her eye on a springbok ram in the riverbed. However, the ram was wide awake - he saw her, snorted and ran off. And the couple disappeared over the ridge!

Thru the dunes - a Red-crested Korhaan

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And back to TR - for another quick supper and a stake out for the cape fox!

But we had run out of luck for the day! :(

Tomorrow - we were off to Nossob!

_________________
Kgalagadi Leopard Identification Guide and Sightings Form
http://www.ast.uct.ac.za/~schurch/leopards/

F2/2014


Last edited by wanderw on Fri May 30, 2008 8:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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