Day 7- 05 April Urikaruus - Kieliekrankie
So this was our 2nd last day in the park and we wanted to get the most out of the last day as well. In order to do that I needed to get more fuel. We were about 15km from Mata Mata in the morning but decided against going all the way there for fuel as I was going towards TR anyway and it would also allow Mattanator to call him mom for the first time in a week. Bad choice on the fuel decision. More on that later. We drove south towards TR and stopped when we saw a few cars up ahead and new that again we would be seeing cats. First we saw the mom and 2 young Cheetahs lying under a bush. As we had nowhere else to go we decided to wait and see if they would hunt. They got up and walked slowly north. At first we did not see any prey closes enough for them , but then a few Springbok appeared walking from North to South. They were very skittish and were probably smelling the Cheetahs. As soon as the 3 Cheetahs saw the Springbok they dropped down flat on their stomachs.
The Springboks decided against walking in the river bed and angled up towards the river bank.
As they walked up, the 3 Cheetahs followed close behind., At this stage we were worried that all the action was going to take place on the other side of the little rise. As the Cheetahs got onto the rise we suddenly saw an Africa Wild Cat run like crazy towards the riverbank, obviously not aware of the Cheetahs.
We lost sight of the AWC. The Cheetah sat and watched the Springbok, or should I say 2 of the Cheetahs were watching the Springbok and one of the young ones was looking behind.
The next moment the one that was looking back jumped up and ran like crazy. My son shouted that it was chasing the AWC.
The second young Cheetah now joined in the chase with the AWC running for it's life, jumping over low shrubs and darting around bushes, all the time with the 2 Cheetahs within a breath of it's tail. I managed to get some shots off, not to clear, so look closely.
I am happy to say that the small AWC managed to evade the Cheetahs by charging into a bush.
The two Cheetahs seem to now have lost interest and looked a bit tired from the chase. Mother Cheetah came walking down towards them, probably thinking that these two had ruined the Springbok hunt. The walked off together.
What a sight. Before leaving I still had a chance to get this Anteating Chat.
With no other prey in sight we decided to head off to TR to get fuel and then to come back and find the Cheetahs again. That was the plan. On the way to TR we got mobile phone reception and called home. Lots to tell so far and it was like a torrent of excited news being shared. We arrived at the TR petrol station with a nice big sign on the diesel pump saying "SORRY NO DIESEL" Not again...we faced the same problem on our last day in July last year. Now what. My car was saying that I could do another 280 km. We were due to stay over in Kieliekrankie so hoped that going out to find diesel at Molopo lodge was the safest option so we at least could do some driving around the next day before having to leave. I was absolutely fuming, but what could you do. Its not the attendants responsibility to order diesel. According to him, the diesel levels are reported every day to the person responsible for ordering. Guess somebody was asleep on the job ...again. We were told that the diesel comes from Cape Town and would only arrive in a day or two. Sure..so we wait for the truck to arrive? We are in the Kalahari, but this is the 21st century and it's not like they have never ordered diesel before. So we handed in our permit and set off to Molopo lodge 65km away to get diesel. Arriving at Molopo Lodge we found the attendant. Yes they have diesel, but there is a power failure so the pumps don't work. But there is good news. At Askham they have generators to power the pumps. Off we went to Askham..another 15km of fuel being consumed. At this stage I am thinking that if Askham is out of diesel we will be sleeping in the car as I would not be able to reach Upington and the holiday would anyway be over prematurely. Arrived at Askham and luckily got fuel. Filled the car to the brim :-). If they didn't have Diesel we would have been stuck outside the park. Huge relief. Off we went back to KTP. Picked up the permit and relaxed again...well just to a boil :-). Half the afternoon lost. On the way to Kieliekrankie we spotted a few cars again and saw a vehicle on top of the riverbank following three Cheetahs. We later learned that this was the research vehicle tracking the collared Cheetah.
We hoped these guys would be coming to visit us at Kieliekrankie. We also saw a Kori Bustard and the Abdim's Stork again on the road to Kieliekrankie.
Cheking in was friendly and quick..we stayed in cabin number 2. What a view.
I love the fact that the cabin is all in one i.e. no split of the cooking and sleeping quarters. We also rated this the camp with the best shower.
We sat and watched the sun set and then the lightning far off over Upington. The tension of the afternoons diesel run had disappeared and we slept like babies. O yes, i did report that the freezer of cabin number 2 doesn't seal properly and I had to gently wedge my tripod against the door and a cupboard to ensure we got a decent seal and our meat would stay frozen. The seals are torn, resulting in a lack of suction. Nevertheless a great camp with an awesome view. Last day tomorrow.