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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 11:33 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
thanks Darraaz...:)


shall we continue...??

Day 3 (part 3): Kij-Kij to Urikaruus
Route: Nossob road, Urikaruus dune road...

So we continued along the Nossob river - by this time it had become very hot and all the clouds that promised the much-needed rain were gone :(.

This is one of the windmills on the way - might be Kransbrak or Jan-se-draai? :redface:

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Close to Dikbaardskolk we found these ostrich dust-bathing and as we approached they stood up and ran in opposite directions - was quite odd...

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We noticed many raptors soaring high in the sky looking for lunch, among which bateleurs and tawny eagles.

Shortly after we'd turned onto the dune road leading back to the Auob we encountered our first oryx calves of the trip - they were cajoling in the shade of a thorn tree:

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As we crossed one of the dunes I spotted 2 reddish brown shapes in a tree next to the road....Greater Kestrels!

The one flew up shortly after we stopped - but not before I fired off some snaps:

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Just look at those beautiful eyes:
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This one went to perch on a tree further back. When we fixed our attention on its mate, we noticed it was feeding on a rodent/mouse of some kind!

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This was my first sighting of this raptor so I was very happy with these pictures.

There was a herd of oryx bulls at the Moravet waterhole, who obliged and posed nicely for me (as most oryxes on this trip it would seem :)).

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A black-backed jackal stood nearby:
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This day was becoming long and hot - but luckily there were some awesome sightings yet to come before we reached the Kalahari Tented Camp, our home for the next 2 days...

(I'm sorry for posting so many images of the same subjects - I was just so overwhelmed by the quality of photos one is able to take in KTP...so forgive me this indulgence ;))

:dance: :popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 2:03 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
thank you Africat, Darraaz & icurrie...

as promised...


Day 3 (part 4): Urikaruus to Kalahari Tented Camp
Route: Auob Riverbed...

As we crossed over the last dune into the Auob river, we found this herd of Wildebeest at the Kamqua waterhole...

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Just past the Urikaruus viewpoint we found our first giraffes! They weren't really close but we were happy to see them in this Park:

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I told my wife and our friends we need to keep an eye out in the trees along the riverbed for leopard lying in them...and my words weren't cold when I spotted something, albeit much smaller than a leopard... :big_eyes:

Our first African Wild Cat!! I'd never seen one before, and was very stoked to pick this one out of its napping spot in the drive-by:

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I took many photos but the cat didn't really come out from behind those twigs :(

Just a few hundred meters down the road we came across a spotted hyena den right next to the road...and the cubs were out playing!

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An adolescent hyena young one came to right next to our window, lay down and closed his eyes...

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Back to the cubs:

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This one was very curious and started investigating a shrub close by:
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The adults started to become more lively now as well...
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Suddenly the juvenile lying next to our car got up, and walked towards something lying on the ground ---- the occupants of the car in front of us (which had driven off just a few moments before) seemed to have thrown a lamb chop bone out! Idiots!! We didn't actually SEE them chuck it out of the window but it was obviously not lying there for long since the hyenas would have found it by now...the young one started chewing vigorously...let's hope it still knows how to hunt...IDIOTS! :evil: :sniper:
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Some of the adults started making some loud signature noises and began sniffing each other out and playfully biting each other:

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Just love how the cubs are checking the weird behaviour out:
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"Let me have a whiff as well!!"
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:big_eyes:

One of my favourite of the session:
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We decided it was time to move on - still a way to go to reach Kalahari Tented Camp, and got to leave some time for more sightings...

About 5km from the hyena den, we saw a few cars parked. I immediately recognised three shapes lying underneath a tree on the far end of the riverbank...

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Cheetahs!!!!

to be continued......... :popcorn: :cam: :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:27 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
thanks again Katja & Billy...

let's see if we can cause the page to turn!

Day 3 (part 5): Urikaruus to Kalahari Tented Camp
Route: Auob Riverbed...

So we found the 3 cheetahs lying lazily under a camelthorn tree against the far bank. According to one of the tourists already parked there, they had been resting for more than 6 hours. I promptly told my SO and our friends that they should mark my words, they're going to get up at any moment...

My words (once again) weren't cold yet before one of them got up and started walking in the direction of 14th Borehole, and the others followed suit. It suited me, since that was the direction we needed to head into to reach our destination :):).

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We followed the slowly for a while, and I was stoked when I realised that they were slowly changing their trajectory to come to our side of the riverbed! :clap:

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I got this stunning picture of the 3rd one walking - and tried 2 options on it (polling time again!) - which one do you like most? The first is a black & white rendition:

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And the second one is another exposure blended HDR image (I like this one most):

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Pretty soon they were walking right next to our car! It was truly amazing, the best cheetah sighting I had ever had anywhere... :big_eyes: :dance: :cam:

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The next moment - their entire attitude changed. They huddled together under a large camelthorn tree, and crouched down low in the grass so we couldn't see them.

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We peered ahead and saw a lone springbuck lying in the middle of the riverbed...were we about to witness a cheetah kill??? :big_eyes: :pray: :popcorn:

We drove forward to be next to the springbuck and in the best position for the action, should it take place...but the next moment the buck caught wind of them and stood up, starting to bark alarmingly.

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We waited in anxious silence to see if the trio would still attempt the hunt if the buck had realised they were around (they were still about 200m from their prey).

After many gruelling minutes, the cheetahs gave up and crossed the road behind us, heading towards the dunes.

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I snapped a few final shots before we had to move on - we spent way too much time at this exciting sighting!! We still had about 30km to go to get to Mata-Mata and book in, and then head back up the river to the Kalahari Tented Camp.

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 1:31 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
Day 3 (part 6): Urikaruus to Kalahari Tented Camp
Route: Auob Riverbed...

So after we decided we have to leave the cheetahs or else miss our book-in at Tented Camp we pushed on...

The sky was turning as gorgeous as only KTP sunsets can:

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Snapped this one @ 40km/h

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A lone black-backed jackal close to Mata-Mata made us stop for a few moments:

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We booked in @ Mata-Mata and went back to the Kalahari Tented Camp - and I instantly fell in love with it. What a stunning view to end your day with...

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Sunset from our verandah (we had one of the best views of the camp - can't remember which number, think it was 12 or so):

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We had a loooong drive on bumpy roads that day - so the general consensus was to lay low the next morning and recharge our batteries. We had a lovely braai under the stars and fell asleep to the barking of geckoes...

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 1:52 pm 
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
thanks Katja! :D

forgot 2!

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My lovely wife posing nicely for me:

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 22, 2009 9:25 pm 
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
Thanks a million Suej, Lorrainepring and Richard...

Day 4 (part 1): Kalahari Tented Camp
Route: In the camp...

We decided to lay in late for a change the next morning...which means that by 7h30 I was up already, walking around the tent with my camera :dance: :cam:

There were some tame and inquisitive yellow mongooses around our unit.

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Leave my breakfast alone!

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Stretching for the long day ahead...

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Whats up, Doc??

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Time for another HDR image of our view that morning!

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As I was taking this picture I saw a crimson-breasted shrike flutter by, calling loudly...I spent a few minutes stalking him so I can get some pictures. It's quite tricky getting them out in the open in a good pose...but I got some!!

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By this time everyone else was awake and we started building a hearty breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast...

Soon enough, we headed out to Mata-Mata to stock up on some supplies...

((<<PS...I started a blog about my view of Southern Africa through the use of HDR Photography, please check it out @ www.saffascapes.blogspot.com>>))

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 4:05 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
thank you Micetta!

It is now my mission to try and complete this TR before it's time to depart for Kruger again!! :big_eyes:

Day 4 (part 2): Kalahari Tented Camp to Mata-Mata and back
Route: Auob Riverbed

We geared up to go and stock up on some much needed supplies in Mata-Mata. As we headed out of our tent I saw that a pygmy falcon was sitting in one of the treetops in the riverbed in front of our house:

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The short distance to Mata-Mata was relatively quiet, and we stopped in the camp to charge some batteries, buy some supplies and check out the camp. This time it was the turn of the ground squirrels to come and investigate my lens...

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this little guy was very cute...

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We headed back to KTC and rested some more before our afternoon drive...

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:12 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
thanks Giraffe, Lionspoon, Micetta & Suej!

Giraffe - yeah I hate having these kinds of problems ;) :dance: :clap:


Day 4 (part 3): Kalahari Tented Camp to 13th borehole and back
Route: Auob Riverbed

That afternoon we'd set off towards 13th borehole again in the hope of locating some of the cheetahs we'd seen the previous day.

First off - another shot of our resident yellow mongoose, baring teeth for one of his neighbours:

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The road was rather quiet. This springbuck with a cripple horn was interesting:
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Not far from KTC we came across some swallow-tailed bee-eaters again, and I tried my chances of getting that perfect in-flight shot of these beauties...Still not there yet but I got something! I liked the poses captured but they were too far away for good image quality and the focus isn't where it should be.

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We came across a giraffe carcass near one of the waterholes, it seems that lions had taken it down but it was long ago...:(
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I played around with motion blur when subjects like this springbuck was running parallel with the vehicle...

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I wanted to play around with landscape compositions whenever I got the chance, but being confined to your vehicle really limited the options on composing creatively. I was still happy with these shots of a dead camelthorn tree in the riverbed:

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The clouds were stunning, as always...

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Near 14th borehole we saw something quite intriguing ..a black-backed jackal walked up to a fallen tree - scratched around - and came up with a rodent which it proceeded to swallow (it was far away - not the best photos):

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Then it trotted off, and in the open field, scratched around again, found another rodent, and gulped it up as well...obviously one rodent doesn't fill a hungry jackal tummy...

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(to be continued...)

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 12:30 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 626
Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
thanks everyone!

:big_eyes:
I'm definitely not Mick Jagger - cause time is NOT on my side...this week is gonna speed past...
:rtm:

Day 4 (part 4): Kalahari Tented Camp to 13th borehole and back
Route: Auob Riverbed

As we drove along I snapped this stately oryx:

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The clouds on our trip were fantastic - allowing me to make reasonable pictures out of ordinary scenes:

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We passed by the spotted hyena den at Urikaruus again, and the babies were giving us a watchful eye, but the activity level was quite low this time around.

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A Kori Bustard wandered next to our car quite close to the hyenas, unperturbed by them...

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By this time we had turned around and drove leisurely back in the direction of the tented camp. I spotted movement in the riverbed - our first bat-eared fox! One of my wishlist sightings of this trip...

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When we reached 14th borehole again we saw our first lilac-breated roller of the trip:

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Along the road - some more bat-eared foxes hunting for insects...just love the hair on its back standing up!

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The sunset was again spectacular, and although the drive back to KTC was uneventful sighting-wise, it was very serene...

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Back at our tent I found time to create another HDR before the last light faded away...

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...leaving pink streaky clouds to launch into night with the sound of barking geckoes...

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The next day would be a long drive to Nossob, and includes a meeting with JO as well as our first LIONS! Stay tuned!!

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 7:20 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
thanks again for staying up to date Pumbaa, Marge, Micetta & Katja...

Day 5 (part 1): Kalahari Tented Camp
Route: In the camp

I got up well before sunrise the next morning with the plan to capture the vivid sunset...

I wasn't disappointed - the clouds played along nicely.
Jo and her family came driving by and we chatted quickly...was nice meeting you!

All these images are 'exposure blended (HDR)' images:

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We packed up quickly and started off on the long drive to Nossob...

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:58 am 
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Would the photos look very different not "blended"?


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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:45 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
thanks Katja, Micetta...

@ Micetta - yes it does! You have to take different exposures measured against different areas of the image, depending on the fall of light. Typically, one image where you overexpose the sun and sky to get detail in the foreground (grass and stump), one where you heavily underexpose to make sure you get detail in the sun and clouds, and one in the middle where you get the normal 'camera' shot. All in all combined it gives a much more realistic sense of how it looked to my human eye.

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2009 6:23 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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hehe thanks Lionspoon - kind of forgot I put it there.

thanks for the kind comments Lee, Jo, p@m & Wild Dreamer! :D

Terribly sorry for only continuing now - just got really swamped and then had to leave for our awesome Northern Kruger trip (report coming as soon as I finish this one! :hmz: :dance: :dance: )

Here we go again!

Day 5 (part 2): Kalahari Tented Camp to Nossob
Route: Auob Riverbed, Dune Road, Nossob Riverbed

As I got back to the tent, I saw we had a visitor under our roof - a barn owl!

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For those who haven't been to the Tented Camp yet - here's a view of the sun rising behind the tents:

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So we packed up our stuff to leave Kalahari Tented Camp on a long drive to Nossob. Before we left, I spotted a spotted thick-knee down the dune from our tent:

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One last farewell to the yellow mongooses:

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As we moved along the Auob we met the usual suspects - wildebeest and oryx:

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I was just starting to bemoan the fact that we had not encountered the famous Kalahari lions yet...when we came around a bend, and almost ran into 3 vehicles. Looking to the right...I saw them! :big_eyes: :clap: :cam: :pray:

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It was the lion couple that Jo had also seen that morning - and they were in the process of mating...

The huge male got up and just check the love in his eyes!

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He lay down again and we thought we wouldn't have some 'action'...:(

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Soon enough, Casanova got up again and made his move...

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Lions can be so vocal in the heat of passion! Will upload a video clip as well soon...the sound was deafening as they were right next to our car...

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After the first bout, old Casanova stood up and posed nicely for us. At this stage I hated the long grass since it obstructed a nice clean view to the lions... :wall:

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The female was very healthy and in prime shape - a beautiful cat.

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Look at the longing in the male's eyes again...

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This image below (as with most of my photos) is available as a large format canvas print - it looks stunning. Contact me for details...

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Soon enough, they were ready to populate the Kalahari again:

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I tried my best during processing to work around the long grass that got in the way, and tried some artistic black & white work, would love to know what you think:

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After spending some quality time with the lion couple, they moved in between the cars and lay down on the other side. By this time there were about 8 other vehicles around so we decided to push on toward Nossob as we were camping and still had to pitch our tent and mobile kitchen.

The Kalahari grasslands were stunning as always:

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(to be continued...)

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:42 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
thanks a million for the kind comments Marge, Richard, Elzet, Lorraine, Pumbaa, Billyf, Micetta, Katja & flying cheetah!

:clap: :D

we were in the Cape for a week so now it's back to the drawing board for the year ahead!

Day 5 (part 3): Kalahari Tented Camp to Nossob
Route: Auob Riverbed, Dune Road, Nossob Riverbed

Moving on, we spent some time with a black-shouldered kite.

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A herd of wildebeest was grazing in the Auob - I loved the sense of scale I got with this photo:

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A group of female ostrich were having a dust bath near 13th borehole. Their movements are quite odd when they do this:

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Just look at them gossiping! ;)

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We pressed on since Nossob was still a fair distance from where we were. Just past Urikaruus we came across our first herd of red hartebeest! This is something not found in Kruger so I was glad to be able to see them here in the wild.

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We got onto the dune road leading to Dikbaardskolk, and I got a shot of this Pale Chanting Goshawk taking off:

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By now it was starting to get hot, and the rest of the road to Nossob flew by without any significant sightings. I was amazed at how the vegetation and topography of the Nossob river differs from that of the Auob river.

We got to Nossob, picked out a nicely shaded campsite and got started setting up our tents and mobile kitchen.

By late afternoon, after resting a while, we took a short drive down to Marie-se-gat via Marie-se-draai. Not much was to be seen, but we did get to share the company of a black-backed jackal who came down for a drink...

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And so the sun set on another great day in the Kgalagadi...

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:45 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
appreciate the flattering words Lionspoon & cheetah! :dance: :D

here comes a double dose tonight!! :)

Day 6 (part 1): Nossob to Grootkolk and back
Route: Nossob Riverbed

We got up early the next morning, thermos filled with hot coffee, and went out the Nossob gate to the North. We wanted to see what's cooking at Polentswa and Grootkolk.

There was a spotted hyena drinking at the Nossob hide, and he moved off in the same direction as us, albeit far to the other side of the riverbed.

That particular morning the clouds and sunrise was something special...
The first picture is a silhouette while the 3 thereafter are HDR (multiple exposure blended as discussed previously :lol: )

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We came to Cubitje Quap waterhole, to be greeted by a large flock of laughing doves performing some aerial acrobatics.

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It didn't look like anything else was going on at the waterhole, so we decided to move on. But - as we got onto the road (before we'd even left Cubitje), I saw movement on the right. It seemed we came moments too late to witness a lanner falcon taking down a laughing dove! :evil: :wall:

The falcon was already dismembering the dove and gave us some great shots as it started feeding.

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Due to the sun shining from behind the bird - I applied exposure blending to this shot to see the effect - I quite like it!

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How's about a close-up of this swift and silent assassin?

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The falcon then got fed up with our cameras clicking and clicking, took his quarry and flew off...

We pushed on - we wanted to have coffee at Bedinkt waterhole...

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