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 Post subject: Re: Dorsland Trek (Thirstland Trip) - KTP Sept 09
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2009 11:09 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Benoni, RSA
So to continue....

We climbed into bed at Nossob, ready for a good nights sleep....sometime just after we crawled in, the wind came up......and the temperature dropped....by 3am we were freezing!!!! I had the following on: 2 vests, PJ top, fleece top, dri-mac.....and I was still cold!!!!

Finally crawled out of bed at about 5am, stretch those frozen aching bones :roll: :roll: Anyway we made it to the gates for 6am and decided to head north...we had heard there was a leopard that was seen regularly at Kannagauss and a family of 3 cheetah had been seen near Cubitjie Quap the previous evening....so off we went.

The road up to Kannagauss was relatively quiet, we saw some bat-eared foxes near Liersdraai. On the way back we got to Bedinkt...
"should we go in to look"
"um....its been so quiet on the way back....."
"ag.....lets go look"
Came to a stop in the parking area that is nearest the waterhole.....
mmmmm.....lets scan the area with the binocs......

LEOPARD!!!!!

She was reclining in a tree near the parking loops on the upper level......so we made our way there...
(unfortunately only have some video stills....not great quality)

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By now it was after 1pm...and getting a tad warm...
"Wouldn't it be great if she came down to the waterhole for a drink?"

....... :popcorn:


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 Post subject: Re: Dorsland Trek (Thirstland Trip) - KTP Sept 09
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 8:58 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Hi!!

-Penny: Wow, thats interesting! If it was the same leopardess, it looks like she must have had her cubs..... it would be great if she did have cubs :pray:
-Morkel: Ja, amazing, one day its the hottest waterhole in the park and the next day...nothing!!!We went back there the following day...you can always hope she would come back... :redface: ...but there wasn't even squirrel!
-Salamanda, KDU, micetta, pumbaa, billyf: Thanks for the comments!!
-Wanderw:.....you know me....couldn't resist!!!

Ok, so we had sat with her for an hour and a half...the crows were driving her AND us mad....she moved....she stood up.....Oh No she's going to climb down the tree and walk away :( ....she made her way cautiously down the tree (I had pics of this but unfort they didn't make the retrieval process)....please go have a drink of water....we lost her in the tall grass....lets head for the waterhole anyway.
We arrived in the parking area by the waterhole....peering into the grass in the driection of the tree......

THERE SHE IS!!!!!

Absolutely amazing...she came to drink...we couldn't ask for more!!! She was there for about 5 min and I think I took over 100 pics....these 3 made it....

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It was the peak of midday, so the light was very harsh.....but I didn't care.... :cam: :cam: :cam: :cam: :cam: :cam: :cam: :cam: :cam: :cam: :cam: :cam: :cam: :cam: :cam: :cam: :cam: .....this was the stuff KTP dreams were made of!!!!!

She finished drinking and walked off over the river valley and up the far bank....and faded into the grass....

To be cont...... :popcorn:


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 Post subject: Re: Dorsland Trek (Thirstland Trip) - KTP Sept 09
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 1:10 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Behind a Nikon camera...
ag no man - what I would give for such a great leopard sighting in KTP :mrgreen: :evil: :shock:

great pics.
I have found that converting them to B&W helps a lot in harsh light situations, and also accentuates texture, lines and patterns more. You should try that with some of the leopard pics :)

I hope you don't mind - but I took the liberty of trying it on one of your pics posted:
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which camera and lenses do you use?

_________________
Planning the next trip already...


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 Post subject: Re: Dorsland Trek (Thirstland Trip) - KTP Sept 09
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2009 8:37 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2005 9:31 pm
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Thank you for all the fab comments...

To continue...

We made our way back to Nossob after the leopard walked away over the dune. Later we went for a ride around Marie's Draai...we have heard and read a lot about this road but had not been fortunate enough yet to experience its magic...and it was quiet again on our afternoon drive.

I took a wander down to the hide in the evening and besides the jackals, there was a genet in the tree!!!



We hit the sack early...and it was even colder than the night before....not much sleep, wind was blowing ....tent was flapping...crept out of bed early....needed cup of hot coffee DESPERATELY...kettle in hand...headed over to tap....no water????....pipes had frozen during the night :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes:
Got some water from the bathrooms - which I think I had forgotten to mention, were under renovation, new tiles etc....dressed and waiting at the gate later....waiting....waiting....waiting...gates were suppossed to open at 7am.....now 7:20 and a few people were getting very antsy....eventually the gate guy arrived at 07h35!!! Oh well....
We headed north to check on Bedinkt...nothing. We were heading to Bitterpan that day so we went and packed up and then decided to make a last turn around Marie's to see if our luck there would change....

And it did....just before the waterhole we noticed a lot of vehicle tracks in the road...we came around the corner...a traffic jam....and in the river bed...3 Cheetah making their way towards the waterhole. One cheetah was a distance ahead of the others....unfortunately these pics weren't retrievable. They walked and walked....then we noticed a group of Springbok behind the waterhole...some of them were still lying down. The 1st cheetah started to crouch....the other 2 stopped under a tree....the front cheetah cautiously crept forward....the springbok still had no idea...then suddenly the front cheetah took off at a rate of knots!!!!!! :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: ...she ran and ran and ran, then Springbok scattered...there was dust everywhere....we lost her.....Where is she, can anyone see her????

The dust settled...where is she??? ..... a head popped up in the grass....it was the cheetah....and she had a springbok lamb :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes: She was panting, catching her breath. The lamb didn't move. The other 2 cheetah eventually caught up...the first one went and claimed the lamb - we thought that the one that had killed the lamb was the mother and the other 2 were perhaps subadult cubs. The second cub arrived and they carried the springbok away over the dune, where we lost sight of them.....
Wow.... :big_eyes: :big_eyes: :big_eyes: ....everything had happened all so quickly!!!!!

I have only a rather hazy video of the whole thing but with all the excitement.....I got a bit shaky :redface: ...so please excuse the bad quality !!!



To be continued...


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 Post subject: Re: Dorsland Trek (Thirstland Trip) - KTP Sept 09
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:20 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Benoni, RSA
Thanks again for the comments!!

Forgot to put this in....there was a very dried out springbok skin hanging in a tree quiet far off the road between Nossob and Cubitjie Quap....evidence that a spotted one may call the area home...



To continue...


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 Post subject: Re: Dorsland Trek (Thirstland Trip) - KTP Sept 09
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 6:05 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Benoni, RSA
Thanks for you patience...

Finally ....to continue....

We hit the road to Bitterpan...I really enjoy this camp, just for its solitude. One the way we saw ostrich, steenbok, korhaans, gemsbok. I love coming over that last dune...and the camp lies infront of you, with the pan extending out to your right...mmmm

We unpacked and met the 2 other couples there...and then relaxed with our books for an hour or 2...then it was :cam: time....sorry, there are a few pics here, but I really enjoyed pottering around with the camera, amazing what you can find to take a pic of around 4 chalets!!!

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For those who are also Bitterpan addicts...the night time sounds on this video clip will make you feels right at home....



The gemsbok made their way off the pan...

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And I decided to fiddle a bit with extended exposures...but found out that I really need to get a cable release.....this was the only one that was not fuzzy due to my tremors while holding the button down with the camera on the tripod!!

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Mmmmmm...supper looked good....

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We went off to bed, but I had half an ear/eye open....last time we were here we were visited by the resident pride.....during the night I heard something outside....



An AWC....Willem told me the next morning that there are 5 around....parents and 3 kittens!


To be continued...


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 Post subject: Re: Dorsland Trek (Thirstland Trip) - KTP Sept 09
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:58 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 565
Location: Benoni, RSA
Yay...page has turned...so can continue!!

The morning dawned over Bitterpan...so I grabbed my camera again...

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We left Bitterpan and headed down to Morevet waterhole as we watered to do the part of the Nossob road between Dikbaardskolk and Kij Kij. On the road to Morevet....there was something in the road up ahead...an AWC!!! Unfort no pics but it soon disappeared in to the grass. We also came across a korhaan doing his thing...



We made our way along to Dikbaardskolk and then headed south. Just after Jan Se Draai we noticed these prints in the road...

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We followed them for nearly 2km, and then they disappeared :hmz: ...a little further down the road...up on the left...there they were, but they were really FAR away...

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Then we noticed there was some movement amongst the lions...
One lady up and moving...

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Then some little movement after her...

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Cubs!!! Unfortunately they were so far away we couldn't see how many cubs there were, we think there were 2!

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To be continued...


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 Post subject: Re: Dorsland Trek (Thirstland Trip) - KTP Sept 09
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:38 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 565
Location: Benoni, RSA
Thanks to all for your comments!

-Morkel: if your car is a 4x4 it will be fine...there are some steep dune-sides with sandy patches....the road is also very corrugated in patches, it you thought the main roads were bad.....this was worse in terms of corrugations!!!


So we moved on after the lions as we had to go the long way around to TR...we stopped at Melkvlei for a stretch...the bones on the table struts a reminder that you are in the wild....

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We had a quiet drive across the dune road and then just before Monro....there was something peeking out a burrow near the road....

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After a while we moved on as there were some guys with HUGE lenses patiently waiting to move into our spot to take some pics of the Meerkats!!

We booked in at TR...and I decided that it would be a good idea to do a night drive :D :D :D

Soooooo....a little later ...off we went....

Sunset over the dune road....

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And then we headed up the Aoub river bed....I took some video footage of the stuff we saw...but you will have to excuse the quality...I was trying to hold the spot-light and video at the same time....bad idea....



To be continued....


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 Post subject: Re: Dorsland Trek (Thirstland Trip) - KTP Sept 09
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:41 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Once again - thanks for all the great comments!!

The next morning, we headed out early on our last day in the park..... :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: . We decided to head up to Auchterlonie and decide where we will go from there...

Near the area where we had seen the lion on the night drive...we came across the lion again...but now in the sunlight, we could definitely see he was not in the best shape....

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And then we noticed the possible reason for his bad condition.....

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A couple of porcupine quills were sticking out of his chest/abdomen...looked like he had possibly tried his luck with a very fiesty porcupine!!

And then he started to heave...

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Things weren't looking good...

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Looked like he was calling for his pride...all quite sad :(

We decided to continue on our way as he settled down to sleep again...a little further up the road, we came across an eagle owl...that really didn't like to be disturbed during the day...

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We decided to continue past Auchterlonie, somewhere near Bataluma we noticed a pygmy falcon in a tree....and he was been mobbed by the drongos....

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...the drongos wanted the agama he had caught!!!

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He managed to eat in peace for a while...and then took off with his prize.

Just north of Urikaruus, we noticed some dark shapes dissapearing over the incline...

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Hyaenas!!!!! :dance: :dance: :dance: ...we have driven past this den soooo many times hoping to see the hyaenas there but this is th efirst time we had seen them in the area!!!

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To be continued....


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 Post subject: Re: Dorsland Trek (Thirstland Trip) - KTP Sept 09
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 4:59 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Thanks jbotha780124 and AjayB!!

So after the hyaenas dissappeared over the incline we continued on a little further....to find another traffic jam!!!

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2 young male lions, asleep under a tree....we were told there were actually 4 of them but the other 2 had dissapeared over the incline...

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They looked very chilled so we continued up the road and did the loop around 14th...and came across 3 tawny eagles on a dead stump.....the one had a snake in its claws....

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I was sitting there with my finger on the camera button.....waiting for the moment that the eagle would take off with the snake in its claws....I couldn't wait to snap that amazing :cam: ......the eagle bent down....and launched itself into the air.....

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....and I missed the shot!!!! :hmz: :hmz: :hmz:

Then one of the eagles at the back decided to take off....

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We then turned around and headed back to Twee Rivieren.....

To be cont....


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 Post subject: Re: Dorsland Trek (Thirstland Trip) - KTP Sept 09
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 5:17 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Thanks again for the comments.....greatly appreciated!!!


So after the Tawny eagles had left us we turned around and headed back to Twee Rivieren. This took us back past the young male lions near Urikaruus...they were looking more alive...

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And then the one strated looking very interested in a group of springbok that were wandering past...

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He then woke up his brother...and they both had a good look...

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The other one even turned around....

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The one lion actually got up and took a few paces in the springbok's direction....but the lions weren't THAT interested!!



We then continued on a quiet drive back to Twee Rivieren where we relaxed for a bit....then went out on our last evening drive in KTP :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:


We stopped off at Samevloeing waterhole...the only visitor....

one of my favorites (see my avator!!!!)....

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Near Houmoed, we came across another of my favorites...who had just caught his afternoon tea...

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To be continued... :popcorn:


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 Post subject: Re: Dorsland Trek (Thirstland Trip) - KTP Sept 09
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2009 8:07 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Micetta...you a star!!! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Just after Monroe...we noticed some movement in the grass...

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Yay...more meerkats!!!!

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they soon disappeared in to the grass....and we made our way back to Twee Rivieren...for our last braai in KTP.... :(

On the way we came across a little soul sitting in the road.....

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As we enjoyed our braai, amarula and the sounds of the barking geckos...the sun sank.....

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...and our trip came to an end.... :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:

The next morning I wandered around a bit , in preparation of the long car trip ahead. We had an amazing sun rise to send us on our way...

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As we were collecting our permit for the last time....the sun peaked over the horizon....

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And who should pull up next to us, but Dreamer and family!!! We had a quick chat, as they were keen to get going on their 1st day in the park....and we had a long drive back to JHB ahead of us....talking of which......we stared ahead at the worst view in KTP....

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We eventually made our way through the gates....we had had another incredible trip to KTP....we were very grateful for what we had seen....and as usual......KTP is calling us back..........................

So until next time.........Thanks KTP!!!!!

And thank you to you all for reading and commenting on this TR....I can't wait to read your reports in the future......

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