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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:53 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
Okay I know I have been soooo lazy (actually I have just been very very busy and haven't even had time to complete working through my KTP images from September).
:wall: :lol: :redface:

I commit myself to finishing this trip report ASAP! I still have a Kruger report to begin with from December and am already lined up to hit KTP again in June this year! Yeh! :clap:

Thanks for the great feedback Pumbaa, WannabeNerd, Richard, Mybs, Louis, Sharifa & Duke! :whistle:

shall we continue??


Day 6 (part 2): Nossob to Grootkolk and back
Route: Nossob Riverbed

The rest of the road that morning was rather quiet, with all the 'notorious' waterholes like Polentswa and Kousant being very quiet, apart from the previous night's lion tracks we saw. This was the day the big fire broke out north of Grootkolk - we actually saw some Sanparks personnel speeding up to go and fight the fire (which they did right through the night! :clap: ). The fire might be a reason for the absence of much game?

We stopped at Lijersdraai for Jaffels! :dance:

Here are some images taken on the way to Lijersdraai and back to Nossob.

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I will get the rest underway ASAP! :)

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:23 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
thanks for the encouraging comments Barbet, Lionspoon, p@m, onewithnature, Michel, Lorraine, Caracal, Pumbaa, Micetta & Katja...
:clap: :D

I know it's been a while again but I'll have another episode or two posted by the end of the week...I hope ;)

@ onewithnature - on this trip I mostly used the Canon 40D and Canon 1000D camera bodies and the Tamron 70-300mm Di Tele-Macro, Canon 18-55mm IS and Canon 100-400mm L IS USM lenses! :)

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:41 pm 
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
so we continue...

Day 6 (part 3): Sunset drive to Marie se Gat
Route: Nossob Riverbed

That afternoon my friend and I had a rock-paper-scissors about whether to go to Cubitje Quap or Marie-se-gat for a sunset drive. Marie-se-gat won. We later found out 3 cheetahs came down to drink at Cubitje!! :wall: :evil: :big_eyes:

This juvenile goshawk sat next to the road - someone needs to help me decide whether this is a Southern-pale-chanting or Gabar Goshawk?

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At Marie-se-gat there was a group of tourists who had booked out the game drive vehicle for a whole 10 days to drive around with humongous lenses and expensive camera equipment. They were talking so loud - no wonder there was nothing but doves taking a drink at the waterhole! :evil:

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On the way back we came across a few oryx bulls wandering lonely in the veld.

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The usual suspects strolled along as well:

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I just love the mood of the sun setting over the Kalahari. This was taken while driving back to Nossob:

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That night I played around with startrails. This is an X-trail Star-trail ;)

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So ends another day in KTP. That night I met the Nossob 'Jackal Problem' head on as I chased 3 jackals around the camp when everyone was sleeping...it was fun ;)

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:27 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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hehe relax I didn't chase jackals around for the heck of it...

1. we met a couple at Auchterlonie one day who told us of how the jackals came into their camp and made off with her purse! it was made of leather so probably the smell told them it's chewable. they didn't get it back, needless to say all her personal stuff was in there: wallet, ID book etc.

2. when you enter Nossob there's a big sign that says: GATE CLOSED DUE TO JACKAL PROBLEM.

3. Every night we would see them skulking around the campsites in the dark. That night they just happened to be snooping around our makeshift kitchen, and they also upturned one of the big dustbins in the campsite.

So we chased them off - but as you're chasing one another comes around behind you :)
:tongue:

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:06 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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thanks Lionspoon & Katja! :)

Day 7 (part 1): Nossob to Mata-Mata
Route: Nossob Riverbed

Early the next morning we decided to rather take a quick drive around Nossob's waterholes one last time before beginning the arduous task of breaking up camp to head to Mata-Mata where we would sleep in a chalet for the night.

We went round to Marie-se-gat and found fresh lion tracks of an entire pride! But they were nowhere to be seen :cry:

We tried to figure out what they would be up to - where they would have gone after quenching their thirst...we continued on the Marie-se-draai loop and turned south towards Twee Rivieren. Then we saw her!

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There was no sign of the other lions. She soon disappeared, but it was great tracking a lion old-school style.

We decided to push past Nossob again and check out Cubitje Quap - maybe the cheetahs would still be around. We found this adult Bateleur just north of the camp.

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Cubitje was alive with flocks of Laughing Doves and Namaqua and Burchell's Sandgrouse.

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A black-backed jackal came down to drink - I'm sure he was hoping to get a sandgrouse or dove for breakfast but they were onto him :)

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We went back to Nossob, had breakfast and packed up camp. As we headed out down to the dune road to get to the Auob river...we came across the sighting of a lifetime! :cam: :thumbs_up:

Here's a sneak preview of the next edition...

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:11 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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as promised - albeit a tad late :)

Day 7 (part 2): Nossob to Mata-Mata
Route: Nossob Riverbed

We came around a bend and saw no less than TWO honey badgers scuttling across the road!! At 12 noon!! This was our first decent badger sighting (had seen one a loooong way off one morning in Kruger), and my heart sank in my shoes as we stopped for a photo and only got this:

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I was trying to catch a better glimpse of them as they disappeared into the dune shrubbery, when all of a sudden my SO yelled out "Look to the left!" - and on the other side of the road was this little fellow!

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This was obviously a family group and we'd stopped smack-dang in the middle of their crossing process. He was obliged to stand and give us another pose before also scuttling over the road and disappearing...I was so glad we got a good sighting of him!

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Aaah....now to move on!

On the way to the dune road we saw a few oryx, a vulture at nest (far away) and an ostrich or two.

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We stopped at the Dikbaardskolk picnic site for some natural "relief" and I got to obey my big Kalahari thirst!

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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: Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:58 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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thanks again for following despite my laziness :)

here we go again...

Day 7 (part 3): Nossob to Mata-Mata
Route: Moravet road and Auob Riverbed

From Dikbaardskolk we got onto the dune road towards the Auob riverbed.

We saw some Red Hartebeest and Oryx at the Eland waterhole, and then came across a lanner falcon sitting right next to the road!

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It took off shortly after we stopped to photograph it...

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It was piping hot by now - and this steenbok sought shelter from the sun.

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At the Moravet pan there was a herd of oryx lazying about, and an odd couple lying down as well:

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I probably will never get tired of photographing the stately antelope that is oryx in these desert environments. The one oryx photo I lack, though, is an oryx against a backdrop of a massive Sossusvlei red Namib dune :). Until I do, these will have to do:

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The rest of the dune road was relatively quiet. We came down the other end into the Auob river, and decided to drive a few kilometers southbound just to check out what was at the Rooibrak waterhole. A herd of springbok were gathered and once again the rams were jostling with each other. I decided to practice a technique known as zoom-panning, where you zoom in or out with a slow shutter speed whilst trying to keep the focus on one point. Needless to say this is quite tricky with a static subject, let alone with antelope who are jumping about erratically! Still, I am quite happy with this shot - but will have to practice the method some more.

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The next one didn't come out so well, but I'm sharing it anyway...

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We headed back up north, as we needed to get to Mata-Mata before the close of the gates. In one of the thorn trees close to Urikaruus I spotted something - our first ever sighting of a Verreaux's Eagle Owl! It was hidden amongst the branches, but I at least got a clear look at him.

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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: Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:26 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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thanks sooo much Richard, onewithnature & KTFHooked...

Day 7 (part 4): Nossob to Mata-Mata
Route:Auob Riverbed

Further along the road, this jackal was lazying around - at first we thought it was dead, until it twitched its ears :)

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Around a bend we came to an unusual sighting - a juvenile southern pale-chanting goshawk sitting in the shade of a thorn bush feasting on some kind of snake!

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After spending some time watching this guy devour its meal, we decided to push on. Another visitor driving by stopped and we spoke about the sightings along the riverbed. We'd hoped the mating lions were still at it but it seems they had finished their stint of loving and were gone - the male was however spotted that morning near Dalkeith...we hoped for the best!

Approaching 13th borehole, we came across another black-shouldered kite,

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as well as another Verraux's Eagle Owl in the open! (well, reasonably in the open :P )

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This guy was hooting (more like screeching) loudly and we spent some time here...

All the antelope where getting ready for their respective rut seasons. Throughout our trip we came across oryx and springbok play-fighting and honing their skills. This oryx bull came charging up to the other one, but swerved away and they never really got their "fight" on, to our photographic dismay :(

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We moved on...would we find our Dalkeith lion before the gates closed at Mata-Mata??
:big_eyes: :hmz: :huh:

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:34 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
thanks again Pumbaa & KTF Hooked...I will now attempt my final run at this. Two more days to go...have been overwhelmed by many things personally these past few weeks :(

Day 7 (part 5): Nossob to Mata-Mata
Route:Auob Riverbed

Carrying on in the Auob riverbed, we came across a magnificent Bateleur posing very nicely for the camera. I waited and waited, and the bugger didn't want to take off! :evil: :cam:

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The golden light on the grass as the sun starts to dip towards the horizon is something I really miss about the Kalahari...

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We decided to push on as the time was running out to get to Mata-Mata...

Close to Dalkeith as the road curved slightly upward from the riverbed, I noticed for the briefest of seconds a hint of movement in the long grass...I knew it was a LION! We found the resident male...he was feasting on something he had caught. We spent quite a few minutes with this guy before other cars started joining us.

The sun was behind him which made photography challenging - but I do so love a challenge!

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But he didn't bother to get up at first and just gave us cold stares through the grass. This image reminds me of that movie "The Ghost and the Darkness" about the man-eaters of Tsavo who would come from nowhere in the long grass and drag you away screaming into the night...

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Eventually, as the cars started to pile up, he decided to get up...and move away from us, not looking back ONCE! :wall: :twisted: :sniper:

I tried my best to get some creative shots with the backlighting, but forgot to tone my exposure compensation down enough, so I had to do it in processing of the RAW files :redface:

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The old blighter never even bothered to lift his head properly while walking, and soon disappeared over the crest of the dune.

We made it to Mata-Mata just in time (and we seemed to be making a habit of this!)...and settled into our chalet for the night, happy with the day's sightings and experiences.

After dinner a quick visit to the hide gave us a close glimps of the resident Verraux's Eagle Owl, but the waterhole was devoid of any other noticeable life...

Tomorrow would be our last full day in the Park, and we got into bed both excited and sad...
:thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 10:44 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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thanks so much Toko, Pumbaa & KTF Hooked...

here we go - our last full day in the park :(

Day 8 (part 1): Mata-Mata to Urikaruus
Route:Auob Riverbed

So we decided to lay late a bit after the previous day's long journey and our braai the evening. We got up at around 8am and started to pack everything up. Tonight would be our last night in the Kgalagadi and we were looking forward to spending it in the quaint camp of Urikaruus (of which I had heard an awful lot beforehand).

As we were packing, I captured this shot of our faithful steed that carried us on this journey...

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Shortly out of Mata-Mata we encountered a long black-backed jackal...our trip seemed to be the trip of the Jackals :)

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On this particular day the clouds were just phenomenal! Cirrus layers stretching into what seemed forever caused us to devote a lot of time to landscape photography (which helped cause the road was very quiet today :))

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We stopped at 13th borehole and came across a tawny eagle soaring in the wonderful sky above...

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Some more shots of the Kgalagadi in all its wonder...

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...to be continued...
:cam:

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:10 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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thanks so much Elsa, Lionspoon, p@m, RichardJ, Crested Barbet, Pumbaa & KTF Hooked...
:lol:

Day 8 (part 2): Mata-Mata to Urikaruus
Route:Auob Riverbed

At the next borehole my eyes almost fell out of their sockets...
KUDU!! I had heard that people have seen them in KTP, but being browsers I found it hard to believe as there just aren't that many leaves for them to feed on. I also noted that these were a lot browner than the grey kudus you find in Kruger.

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Sadly there wasn't a stately bull around, but oddly enough the two females proceeded to entice each other into a playful game of sparring, much as males do!? :big_eyes:

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We pressed on...and found some tawny eagles, some bat-eared foxes, and some wildebeest, but the road was awfully quiet on this day. I captured some more landscapes though...

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As we got close to the Urikaruus turn-off we encountered a small herd of giraffe...

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...and the hyenas sleeping outside their den...

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But, I REALLY REALLY wanted to capture some animal with this gorgeous sky as backdrop...now if only one could be found in the appropriate place?? :cam: :rtm: :wall:

And then it happened. A single blue wildebeest on a dune. This iconic Kalahari survivor stood still as I tried to portray him in his vast, harsh environment and monotonous daily existence of grazing from shrub to shrub, trudging dust-covered towards seeping waterholes in anticipation of the Great Rains that come every year, and dodging the onslaught of a myriad of predators.

I hope I have captured the spirit of this existence here...see for yourselves...

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We moved on and came into Urikaruus for our fist stay there, and definitely not our last! I still hoped for some action at the waterhole...

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Wed May 19, 2010 8:54 pm 
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Lionspoon - indeed!!

Let's finish this thing...

Day 8 (part 3): Around Urikaruus
Route:Auob Riverbed

First off, another shot of that awesome sky...
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We decided to drive south towards Rooibrak and Montrose. Close to camp we found a whole clan of Bat-Eared foxes on their way to start foraging for the night.

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Then we came across a sizable herd of springbok...one of which ran alongside the car and I got a chance to practice motion panning...

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The hyena pups were out for a fleeting moment before diving down into the den once again :(

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Did you know the steenbok, klipspringer and most other small African antelope mate for life?? We found this handsome couple alongside the road...

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This image makes me long for those Kgalagadi mornings and afternoons all over again! A small herd of wildebeest trudging away into the distance (where you see ostriches and springbok as well).

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We were looking very hard for the resident leopard who had drunk at the Urikaruus waterhole but 2 nights ago, but to no avail. In the end we returned to the camp and started to prepare our last night's meal - and it was awesome sitting on the porch that night with a stunning silence. Not even a gecko or jackal...just an African silence. We were sad that we had to leave and go home the next day, but I was overjoyed at finally having made the trip back here after 13 years, and the others at coming to this magical place for the first time.

It turned out to be a VERY cold night...

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 Post subject: Re: My FIRST KTP trip in 13 years!!! Shame on me...TRIP REPORT
Unread postPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 10:25 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
you are too kind (and thankfully very patient with me) Micetta, Lionspoon, Pumbaa, Onewitnature, KTF Hooked & Richard! :clap:

Day 9: Urikaruus to Twee Rivieren (and then home :cry: )
Route:Auob Riverbed

We woke up on an uncannily cold morning for the spring-time in the Kalahari. Nothing was at the waterhole, and we made a quick coffee and packed our stuff and trudged towards the SUV for our last short ride through the Kgalagadi as we made our way towards the gate at Twee Rivieren.

We found this juvenile tawny eagle waiting for the sun to warm him up a bit so he can stretch his wings...

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Only a short distance from Urikaruus we found a docile herd of springbok with plenty young ones grazing either side of the road.

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We headed on, since we wanted to have a hearty Wimpy breakfast in Upington and still make it back in time to get some sleep as work would start the next day :(

We saw a black-chested snake eagle in a far-away tree (my first sighting) but no noteworthy photos.

Then we came across a bird I had not seen before (at least this variation)...the Fiscal Shrike, Western species. It has a white band across the eyes - all the birding experts need to tell me if I'm correct here!

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As we drove along, I thought I'd spotted a new species...and I was right...these were a new species of "Kgalagadi-spoilers", getting out of their cars at a lookout point which I am sure wasn't a "get-out-of-your-car" zone (this wasn't the one at Auchterlonie, it's just a drive-around loop).

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:evil: :wall:

All of a sudden we spotted movement next to the road...suricates (meerkat!)

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This is another of my HDR creations, the sun was behind the suricate, so I tried blending different exposures to get more detail and mood in the shot:

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Right next to the lone meerkat was a pair of ground squirrels, the one giving the other one a hicky!! :lol: :shock: :big_eyes:

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And so we got to Twee Rivieren, and filled up the car for the long drive back...now we are headed there again!! Yeah! :)

Here is a shot of me and my wife on that last morning - excuse my bad hair-day :)

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Thanks so much for following along everyone... :dance: :clap:

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