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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:08 am 
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Thanks JJ...we will return in Feb...so maybe we should meet!
Another proof that all bats are not huge...N nanus..not at all pleased to be amongst the evening's invitees ...ha.
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November 3/10 Wednesday TNP
Last day in Tsitsikamma, so we wanted to get some exercise. A bushbuck nervously greeted us on the front grass area.
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We hiked down to the restaurant area…then took the trails out to the suspension bridge over the river…always on the lookout for caves!
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The main suspension bridge was missing a few key bits of equipment..ie the walkway…but it will be operational in a few weeks, so we will hike to the far side of the Storm River Mouth the next time we come.
The hike through the forest was lovely and lush. Lots of Knysna touracos darting through the forest, but very tough to grab a good photo of them in the shadows.
Finally we managed to get a blurry one of an adult feeding a young, about its same size. We felt so proud of this capture..ha. Just wait.
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Then we had to face the steep uphill climb back to our accommodation.
In the afternoon, we did some more hiking in search of caves for potential bat roosts. All we found were some pods of dolphins patrolling the coastline and lots of indignant mini landscapers chewing on the grass.
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We had a good explore of all the accommodations and thought we would quite enjoy our time when we return with a neighbour next year.
The rain began to roll in and batting for the evening was therefore limited.

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Canadian prairies...but prepping for some SA trips....
KTF Hooked on KTP- 2008
KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


Last edited by KTF hooked on Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:30 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:19 am 
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Although I'm sure the regular guest lodging was less well 'guarded' than ours...ahem
Image:
here is a primer of accommodation in the park...all have lovely views and looked well cared for...
2 person accommodation near the restaurant/bus zone (cabins 1-7):
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3 person accommodation across the road and further along the park:
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larger family cabins on the ocean side (8-11):
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forest cabins and huts (in the forest) still further along the park:
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and then I showed you the stunning camping meters from the ocean...little bit short on shade, but there was some too.
Hope that helps with questions about the park...onward to Harkerville...

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Canadian prairies...but prepping for some SA trips....
KTF Hooked on KTP- 2008
KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:51 am 
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November 4/10 TNP to Harkerville
Another rainy start to the day, but we were packing up to leave. Our guard scorpion tried to join us as a stowaway, but thankfully was discovered and evicted. He pouted out on the front step.
We restocked the grocery supplies in Plettenburg Bay, (especially all the cold things which had spoiled in our ‘fridge’). Then we drove west to Harkerville…another SanParks NP…Diepwalle Indigenous Forest. What a wonderful place, and I think my favourite spot.
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The accommodation we stayed in was spotless, spacious and everything functioned as it should.
The ranger was expecting us and had some rangers ready for the next day to show us where the caves were located- naturally..ha.
We chose to do a bit of exploration on our own, and with the ranger’s direction, we found the escarpment lookout.
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The wind was picking up, but it would be better temps for our climb- not the down bit- the up stuff!. The escarpment was high above the coastal shoreline where the caves were found.
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Off we went on another goat path which zigzagged down the cliff in a rather basic manner. Very pretty though. It was a shame that TMLL twisted his ankle on some of the uneven pathway, but he was determined to carry on.
We made it to the ocean level and then had to boulder our way across the beach to the far side. The pathway continued up and over some steep rocks, but TMLL couldn’t do this with his ankle. I stayed with him and the girls went on to the cave. TMLL soaked his foot in the ocean to keep it from swelling, and kind of got stranded by the incoming tide..ha.
The girls didn’t find anything in the cave. It was a very long walk back up the escarpment- yes, we have to go waay back up there!!!, but it did give us some time to look at flowers in the cooling mist. Such a pretty area.
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After supper, they all went out to set up nets for bats by a stream and came back and processed the critters they had found.

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Canadian prairies...but prepping for some SA trips....
KTF Hooked on KTP- 2008
KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:17 am 
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November 5/10 Harkerville
Another overcast start to our day. We met the two rangers at the park office and they took us back to the escarpment. Oh, dear this means coming back up again...ha. They took us back down the cliff and showed us another cave.
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We only found a few bats in there, and it wasn’t worth netting them at night. Another challenge of hiking back up the hill…oh look, more flowers (yellow hyacinthe...breathe)- and again with our ascent came a cooling misty rain.
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The rest of the day was spent fixing equipment, monitoring data, taking photos of the locals and avoiding the rain in between bits of sun.
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greater double collared sunbirds:
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swee waxbills...female, then male:
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local mushroom...massive:
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Ok...here is a question for anybody to answer...security seems to be an issue here...tell me the efficacy of this fencing set up behind our cabin...
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Canadian prairies...but prepping for some SA trips....
KTF Hooked on KTP- 2008
KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


Last edited by KTF hooked on Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:52 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:46 am 
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We went into Plettenberg Baai for supper this night and set up a harp trap for the bats as we went. We collected the bats as we came back to the cabin. There were some different species dropping in for a visit...so here are a few of the little ones...
Here is an old lady bat ( note the worn teeth...too many hard beetles ha) sporting the latest in bat parasites for 2010.
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and another one ( E. capensis) which we relieved of its parasitic load...so odd to see so many parasites. Oh well those pickled parasites will make another grad student very pleased for more data!
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A cool velvety bent wing bat (Miniopteris natalensis) and the reason it gets its name...
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November 6/10 Saturday Harkerville
The bats from the evening were processed and then returned to the area we had gotten them from. The bent wing bats were particularly neat to see…definitely deserve their name.
The girls and I went to the Harkerville market and enjoyed all the tastes and great deals.
FC, TMLL and I went back to the cliff and took the Kranshoek trail down the far side of the valley. A day is just not complete without a good heart thumping hike!!
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The walk took us across the waterfall, then less sharply down the elevation, crossing a stream 8 times, till we arrived at the beach. We sat with a few friends (lizards) and watched the waves, while we gathered the courage to go back up! It was a very picturesque area.
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Canadian prairies...but prepping for some SA trips....
KTF Hooked on KTP- 2008
KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:02 pm 
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Might as well finish Harkerville today...still have a bunch of things lined up to post!!!

So going back up the escarpment was another exercise in exercise! But it afforded time to seek out some neat flowers:
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some great plants:
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some neat almost imploded 'shrooms:
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and some great views...
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I spent some time patiently stalking the Knysna turacos which occasionally flew out of the dark forest back at our cabin, flashing their colours at me. My best effort was the tail section and beak visible through a far tree. Sigh…if only…ha...wait for it.....
More netting occurred and the results were not too impressive, but we were not shut out!
So ends Harkerville...onward to Goudveld...and then Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park....stay tuned...

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Canadian prairies...but prepping for some SA trips....
KTF Hooked on KTP- 2008
KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 11:15 am 
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November 7/10 Sunday Harkerville to Goudveld NP
Another sunny but chilly start to the day, and our last move on this trip. We got some groceries in Knysna and then went to a guest house just outside of the Goudveld Park further west of us. Our cabin was set in a forest of tall trees. After we unpacked, we went to explore Goudveld.
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The countryside was covered in pea green ferns interspersed amongst tall trees...such a pretty area. The ferns were able to establish in the acidic gold mine tailings.
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Bendigo Mines had mined this area extensively many years ago, and all these mine shafts provide a wonderful home for bats. There were lots of erratic holes in the ground. The thought of trekking around at night was a bit concerning.
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Underground streams often flowed in many of these shafts. In the first mine you could hear the bats chattering in some far location, but it was inaccessible due to the water.
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A second mine opening was not far off, and we hiked several kms downhill…yes I know this means we had to go up at the end. It is the only way to go!! The second mine was also quite underwater, but a few bats were accessible.
A third mine was another distance away, and it was without water, but also without bats. An Austrian couple got more than they bargained for, when they asked what we were doing. They got a bat talk, complete with specimens, which I’m not sure they were too keen on.
Ha...some of the lovely scenery-
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Canadian prairies...but prepping for some SA trips....
KTF Hooked on KTP- 2008
KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 11:36 am 
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On our way back to the guest house, we saw a pair of forest buzzards mating- we think...here is one 'post lovin'. Would appreciate any confirmation of species...
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That night we made a nice braai, and the guest of honour was a knysna turaco. Now recall that I have shushing and 'freezing' everyone, so I could nab a photo- even a blurry/action one...for days.... This bird which I have been stalking like some crazed photographer, and it just came and sat on the table and begged for food. Sigh...and once the begging option failed, it got downright obstreperous and demanded! It tried to intimidate us by flashing its red wing feathers at us, all the while squawking…and it wouldn’t get lost!! So a few hundred photos later…I have captured the turaco and they aren't even blurry..sorry- action shots or 5. PS- The unhappy turaco had to find its own food...doesn't pay to be cranky, especially in a park!!!
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The batters went out to do their thing…and I admired the wildlife in and around the cabin. The place was a mega hive for bees, had owls hooting everywhere, and fireflies.

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Canadian prairies...but prepping for some SA trips....
KTF Hooked on KTP- 2008
KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 11:58 am 
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Thanks anne-marie...yes, finally I got to see its colours...a lovely bird to look at, that is true, but a really crotchety one too!!

November 8/10 Monday Goudveld
Mum made a wonderful ‘thank you’ breakfast for us all. It was delightful...and our cranky little buddy turaco tried with even more enthusiasm to get us to feed it...unnn unnnn little friend...we had a chat about using manners.
Even the big forest cockroaches had more manners that the turaco..lovely antennae...
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Today it became a miserable rainy day…so it was spent tending to equipment/data and photos.
The batting success was somewhat limited because of the weather. They did see a very cold black snake on a pathway- but only caught one bat.
I remained behind processing photos and being in awe of the honkin’ spider which glommed onto my window and processed its own eats.
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My buddy the turaco came and pestered me again…such a nuisance...ha. So I took a few more photos. Sigh...it really didn't listen to my manners lessons...nasty disposition, but lovely bird...shame I I cut off it's tail feathers in first the photo...sigh. It clearly can't do a thing with its own feathers in the rain...bad feather day...
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Novemeber 9/10 Tuesday – return to Cape Town
We packed up for the last time drove back to Cape Town. It absolutely poured rain in areas.
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We had certainly seen some wonderful scenery on our trip. The rain didn't dampen our spirits one bit!We also got to help out with some bat research work. Africa is such a special place- you are so very fortunate to have such a diversity of wildlife, whether large or small- it is all very interesting.

Next up Kgalagadi National Park....yeah....

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Canadian prairies...but prepping for some SA trips....
KTF Hooked on KTP- 2008
KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 8:49 pm 
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Our adventure didn’t really start out as planned. Poor ‘Traveling Around’ (TA) from home didn’t leave as planned on Nov 10, due to an early prairie snowstorm, which grounded her flight. New plan…well not really, the second plan was for her to depart on Friday Nov 12, but this time Mother Nature stepped in with an ice storm where the plane was over-nighting. She waited anxiously for 5 hours, hoping that the plane would not be cancelled and decided to go if it was going, since more unsettled weather was predicted. This turned out to be a very wise choice, since no other flights left after hers! At least she was on her way! She had to be rerouted once she hit Chicago, but this was a good thing, since she was sent via London and then actually had fewer planes to catch.
TA was finally here…so great to see her and although a bit weary, she was keen to get started. I had brought some things to let her refresh a bit, and figured if she wanted to hit the ground running, that we were almost in Stellenbosch…soo…..after getting a bit waylaid, and within 2 hours, she was working on her second winery tasting!!
Nov 15- flight to Upington
The airport shuttle came exactly as requested and into it we piled our suitcases, the black bin of camping supplies, and the wrapped up fridge/freezer. At the airport we had the fridge/freezer saran wrap sealed to contain the bubble wrap. We then went through the line ups and ended up with a familiar SAA agent, and this was a good thing. He informed us of 2 things…first of all, we had too much stuff and we were 29 kg overweight- which would cost us…nice and secondly, that SAA no longer permits the transport of fridge/freezers since they can’t guarantee their safe arrival and it might be a health hazard to transport it. Nice…talk to manager…he lets us take this as long as we sign a waiver that we wouldn’t sue if it got damaged…ok.
This fridge was getting expensive. So run around to pay for overweight…time is ticking…and what…the plane is delayed …why? Fog in George, where it is coming from…good, another point for Mother Nature! Any other meteorological event we could experience? TA…you have some sort of weather issues!!!
The agent forgot to give us the baggage tags, so now I wondered if we would even see our bags…oh well...we were going to KTP and I didn’t care…well I did…but not as much.!
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Eventually we arrived in Upington, and after overhearing some people talking about the possibility of a sandstorm…we just had to laugh…I think that is really all that could have happened, weather wise.
We were met at the airport by the car rental agency. Such a nice couple who were renting us a 4X4…a biodiesel truck, which ran off spent French fry oil…but used regular diesel as well. Friends of ours who had rented from them in the past had christened it the ‘chip wagon’, although we didn’t find that the thing smelled overly French fry like. However anything that might heighten our chances of seeing critters was just fine.
The truck was a great little beast…a Nissan and I actually felt pretty confident driving it, once I got over the manual shifting with the other hand…it was just those pesky turn signals, which were on the opposite side and cause me to mistakenly clean the windshield more regularly than I needed to! We had some lessons on 4x4 driving, where things were in the truck- advice on changing a tyre…get a male to do it for you…great!- and then heard about the one little flaw. Apparently the truck had been returned the day before with the petrol sensor not fully functional. Even though the truck was full, it only registered that it was ¾ full. Ok…we will keep an eye on the petrol long as it isn’t something more serious like the alternator knocking out all the electrical system…ahem…not like that has happened recently.
Off we went towards our B and B. About 5 km out of the airport a warning alarm bell went off, and the petrol guage suddenly went to zero. Ha…wonderful…had we suddenly jettisoned petrol? No…so we got to our B and B and called the truck renters. They would come later in the afternoon and get it checked again. Meanwhile we went off to get some food for the evening, since our plan for the B and B fell through as she had a relative arrive that day and they wished to visit. Sigh…can anything else go wrong?? Ha…we just had to laugh…we got some food and tucked in to wait for the rental people, and had a swim. The truck was examined and deemed roadworthy, with just a gauge issue…there was nothing else available, so we were to continuously zero the mileage when we filled up and just not go more than 500, or was that 800km, on a tank. Ha...not much of a difference…just too funny. Later that night the Band B owner and her sister invited us for a sundowner by the pool with the bats flying above our heads…things were turning around…what a start!

Nov 16- Tuesday -Upington to Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

The truck was recheck the following am, and topped up for sure. We started our day off with a nice swim in the pool, with all the birds flying overhead and a wonderful breakfast of homemade goodies in the lapa. We drove into town and stocked up on food and drink; came back to the B and B to reorganize our things and were off northward. Our first Kgalagadi cat...
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It was a hot day. We drove through barren dunes, with narry anything to see for many kms except the odd goat. KTP is 275km north of Upington and the road there is very much like prairie roads…straight, and leaving nothing to the imagination. There is one turn and unlike in 2008, this second road was now fully paved, making the whole trip so much faster and smoother. The dunes got redder and I was just a little excited.

We arrived at the new reception…
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and it is a lovely building…except TA was kind of excited to see a massive millipede strolling within the building. You will understand once you see how impressive their size was! We were signed in with no issue and headed into the park. We stopped to meet the Head guide in Twee Rivieren and offloaded some books for the wilderness rangers, but he was within the park, so we just left the books at the office. Got some treats from the store; a load of petrol and recalibrated the gauge; and then with a small scenic boo-boo, headed into the park.

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Canadian prairies...but prepping for some SA trips....
KTF Hooked on KTP- 2008
KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:50 pm 
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GavinW---about time right..ha...and my time is limited for a while...kids coming soon...sooooooo excited!!

I was so happy to be here, and I think TA thought I was nuts- but I just love those red dunes.
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Oh well…our first animal…and we had bets…was the iconic ghemsbok- yeah.
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So nice since it is our symbol for the park.
Then we saw springbok excitedly pronking; wildebeest; ground squirrels with their tails shading their bodies from the sun; meerkats; jackals on missions, pale chanting goshawks, ostrich buddies and secretary birds. All new things for TA.
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The late afternoon sun was very lovely in colour and bathed everything in that warm Kgalagadi glow.
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We arrived in Kielekrankie, and Willem (yes, the same from 2008) greeted us. We were to stay in tent #2, right behind the new cement car park with the shade awning…how posh.
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Willem said that the leopard had visited the previous evening. We unloaded and set up the braai…although my first fire skills left a lot to be desired…we had our meat as a dessert…ha.

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KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:20 pm 
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A Bibron gecko joined us on the deck to watch the sun perform its nightly tasks...
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As the sun set, we appreciated the lovely views of the area, and heard some impressive barking gecko calls. How can such a tiny little reptile create such a resounding noise?It sounded like millions of echos were all over the area. Very neat to listen to in such great quantities. Several steenbok and 3 jackals all took turns at the waterhole, as we watched the building clouds in the sunset.
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Willem was very keen for the rains to come; given this is supposed to be a flood year, I wasn’t so keen and given our luck with weather…hmmmm. There was some lightening in the distance.

Nov 17/10 Wednesday Kielekrankie to Nossob

The wee hours of the morning were interrupted by an owl, and then one lone lion calling in the distance. Just after I heard the call, Willem’s spotlight went on checking out the waterhole, just in case, but nothing was there.
After a quick brekkie, we headed out to the Auob riverbed for some early morning viewing before moving on to Nossob. We saw lots of steenbok in the dunes, springbok herds in the river bed, ghemsbok, crimson boubous, and lots of little swallow-tailed bee eaters.
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We left Willem with some goodies from Canada, which he was thrilled with…TA especially was spreading Canadian Pride throughout South Africa!
We drove the lower dune road over to the Nossob river valley, spotting lots of shy steenbok in the dunes, and ghemsbok.

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KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:57 am 
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Thanks so much everyone...sorry I got fairly cut off on Dec 23...literally...seems my SO's Id 'expired' although thankfully he didn't...so we didn't have any access to internet at all...sigh...just what a mother wants as her kids are in transit. Thankfully we had phone communication and they arrived without incident. so fortunate compared to many others traveling through Europe.
anyway...thanks for your good wishes...we had a super time...and now I am depressed that they have left...although their trip home of more of a mission. But they are now safely home.
We had a stunning time..had them great white diving within 8 hours of arrival; had some wonderful game drives on some non NP properties- they were closer unfortunately...the charging by a buffalo was especially memorable...but we had a great family time.
I will return to my KTP tale as soon as I can access the internet...I am borrowing computer access right now. My SO's ID should be rectified by Friday...and now we just need the internet to be restored to us as well. Sigh...what is the expression...the Swiss have clocks and Africa has time!!
Happy New Year to all.
KTF

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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:01 pm 
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Welcome PetraJ...here we go...

We drove the lower dune road over to the Nossob river valley; spotting lots of shy steenbok in the dunes, and ghemsbok.
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And this poor little embarrassed one....
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At Melkvlei waterhole, where we had encountered some vandalizing teenage lions in 2008, I giggle to see the anti-lion window bars.
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The previous time these bored cats had removed the canvas window inserts with a couple of swipes of their paws and we found the lions ‘killing’ the prized inserts. Now the windows had some more screening within, but had protective branch bars outside of the screens.
It was a hot day and everything was searching for or creating their own shade, or making more heat...
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Up the Nossob, we came across a newly born springbok not far off the road.
Mom was in the process of cleaning up the afterbirth and babe, with cord still attached, was attempting to use those ridiculously spindly legs.
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Mom was encouraging all the way.
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There were many attempts, but it hadn’t figured out the secret while we watched. After a while Mom, Auntie and babe, just chose to rest in the shade and gather strength before the next attempt. We hoped that no predators were watching the goings on.

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KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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 Post subject: Re: KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:48 am 
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Further on, I was delighted to see my first yellow ribbon on a vehicle ever. It was GavinW and Wannabenerd on their way to Urikaruus. So nice to actually put faces to names and chat about what they had seen…lions they told us. We were so thrilled- could our anti-cat vapours be lifting?? It seemed that everyone else we had spoken too had seen herds of predators...sigh. They did tell us about a lion not too far away…so we were so excited!!!
Sure enough the big male was exactly where they had told us it was…hanging out by the waterhole and doing what lions like best…sleeping. We pulled into the shade of a tree, settled in for a snack and watched it snore. Soon it woke up and admired the surroundings.
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Five ghemsbok had wind of this lion, but really wanted a drink- here are 4 of them warily watching the lion's direction and longing for water.
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So the staring match was on, the ghemsbok got a little brave and then retreated; the lion moved and the boks were ready to run. Four hartebeest also were keen to drink, but hesitated due to his royal snoringness.
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However, the bravest of them all were 2 secretary birds who boldly strode up to the water hole and tucked in…boks and beest were put to shame.
A while later we were ready to leave, and the lion finally moved more than a few centimeters. We pulled into a better viewing place with several other cars. The lion actually physically got up…and moved almost 150 m to the waterhole- imagine, scattering the ghemsbok, hartebeest and secretary birds; and drank, and drank, and drank like he had never drank before.
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In fact his belly got so protruded that at one point he raised his back haunches to allow for more room as he drank…so funny.
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Then he took his well fed and soggy belly and went back to his ‘spot’. He hunkered down for another eon of snoozing.
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Many thanks to GavinW and Wannabenerd for helping us break our anti predator adventure!!

_________________
Canadian prairies...but prepping for some SA trips....
KTF Hooked on KTP- 2008
KTF Hooked's Most Anticipated Adventure- 2010/11


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Submitted by Stampajane at 12:14:20 Submitted by Stampajane at 13:34:46 Submitted by Stampajane at 12:14:03 Submitted by Mrs. S.K.L.Gauntlett at 08:36:49