13th May – Tuesday
Packed up and left camp by 7am on the way to Nossob. We saw a squirrel family awaking from their burrow and waiting for the sun to warm them up.
Just past the squirrels, a Jackal awoke and stretched lazily.
We came across a Kori Bustard dust-bathing. I am not even going to mention how Bucky tricked me into missing it flying, but no doubt he will post that image !
A tawny Eagle looked down on us from it’s perch in a dead tree.
We then passed 4 juvenile male lions in the shade of bushes between Kij Kij and Melk Vlei, obviously recently ousted from their pride. They were not too happy to share time with us.
have you heard this one? ...
When we arrived at Melk Vlei and had a brief stop, there was new lion spore everywhere, especially around the ablutions, and the canvas screen windows in the ladies block were ripped out – with lion spore all around the window gap ! We guessed these delinquents to be the 4 juvenile males we had seen a few minutes earlier.
Ripped canvas window
Bucky showing the damage
Lion spore around ablutions
Texasboer finds something interesting
Fresh prints at picnic site
We watched a Jackal toying with some old bones at Kij Kij and Ostriches dust-bathing and chasing each other around.
Shake your booty !
The road was now horrendous, and Bucky was trying to teach me Afrikaans (or French?) I think.
We stopped at Dickbaardskolk for a break and braai where there were several disgusting Armoured Ground Crickets roaming around and eating each other – yuck !
Armoured Ground Cricket
The road corrugations got worse towards Nossob, far worse than last September. Because of these it made it imperative to travel toward the top of the speed limit to prevent the vehicle from shaking to bits, but we rounded a bend to see two 4x4’s speeding so fast that the lead vehicle almost lost control on the bend and came snaking towards us before regaining control – a very hairy moment ! It was all too fast to even take reg. numbers. Something must be done about the state of the roads and/or speeding drivers.
We arrived at Nossob around 3pm and set up camp quickly as we had booked a night drive which left at 5pm. The night drive guide (Francois) spoke to the group in Afrikaans as I was the only Brit
so it was a bit strange for me to sit through an obviously interesting narrative without understanding hardly a word. Others did translate the more interesting bits for me. We did not see much on the drive. The best sighting was a tiny gecko which Francois caught, and a Cape Eagle Owl.
baby Barking Gecko
What was most interesting was to hear about the problems with the Eland last September. Apparently there are around 5-6000 Eland in the park ! They usually stay in the dunes feeding off Melons and such, but because of the lack of those last year, they came to the waterholes and drank the salty water, which itself became contaminated with Wildebeest fouling the waterholes, causing toxins to build up in the Eland and due to their low condition they then died in large numbers.
Last year the total rainfall in the park from January-September was only 1.5ml. This year, just from January to May, the rainfall was already 450ml . The entire park was rich in vegetation. Nossob looked like wheat fields. Even in a vehicle high off the ground, it was hard to see over the grasses in many places. The sour grass was so tall it hid all but the tallest of animals. Sometimes, Gemsbok by the roadside were only visible by their horns.
We retired to our tents tired and weary that night, but it was not long before the African night sounds took over. As usual at Nossob the Jackals raided camp after lights out, upending the still non-animal proof rubbish bins around the camp. I cannot help but wonder why it is so difficult for SanParks to make all the bins jackal proof.
After the Jackal raid, a screech owl made it’s presence known and around 2.15 am the Lions began their telegraph calling, with the most amazing vibrating roars. It sounded as though they were at the camp waterhole at one stage. This continued on and off for about 2 hours. At around 3.30 am I was wide awake and had to visit the ablutions, some distance away – only on the way back did I ask myself the sense in that call of nature !
We woke up later than usual the following morning.
SueJ - Sand Rover !KTP 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpasteKalahari Tapas 2010
Kagalagadi Wheat Fields TR 2008