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 Post subject: Aug 2010-KTP & Augrabies Feedback-shortcourse
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:30 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2007 12:58 pm
Posts: 125
Location: Pietermaritzburg
Hi all

Have just returned from a trip to KTP & Augrabies and decided to give a little feedback. Our itinerary was as follows (departing from Pietermaritzburg):
31 July Kimberly
1 Aug - 3 Aug Augrabies
3 Aug - 5 Aug Twee Rivierien
5 Aug - 9 Aug Nossob
9 Aug - 11 Aug Twee Rivierien
11 Aug Kimberly

Total Distance Travelled: 4700km
Approximate Cost of Fuel : R 3100
Approximate Fuel Consumption : 12.2km / litre
Vehicle: Nissan Livina XGear

First Up : Augrabies
Comments: very pretty although 2 days is enough to see it. Beware the miggies - they are everywhere! We stayed in the chalets which were more than adequate. There is cellphone reception as well. If you are camping, beware of the baboons which are quite big. There are 3 pools which I am sure are lovely in summer. While we did not do the Klipspringer trail, we spoke to couples that did - apparently very nice and not too difficult but the miggies are a serious problem. Definitely take a hat and sunscreen lotion - a widebrimmed hat if possible and even better one of those aussie ones to prevent the miggies. Saw very little game in the park other than lots and lots of dassies and some springbok but awesome scenery.

The road between Upington and Augrabies is good - lots of places to stop with lots of farm stalls. Stop at the Pienk Padstal - very nice and worth spending a few minutes there.

On to KTP:
Did some shopping in Upington at the Pick n Pay. Quite decent. Tip : Buy water from the Oasmosis shop located by Game in the same shopping centre. Works out much cheaper than buying water from Pick n Pay. R 10 for 5 litres.

It is just over 250 km from Upington to KTP on good tar roads. The last 60km is quite windy and have to watch out for livestock. There are lots of dead bat eared foxes on the road so be careful.

Won't go into much detail about our sightings other than to give the highlights:
1. The game is vastly different from Kruger. The primary animals we saw were Gemsbok, Spingbok & Blue Wildebeest, together with lots of sightings of black backed jackal, mongoose and squirrels. We also saw some steenbok, though not plentiful, and the occassional Red Hartebeest, particularly up past Nossob, but other than the above, not a lot of 'common' game.
2. Our special sightings included: 3 lion sightings; 5 cheetah sightings (although we saw the same cheetah on consecutive days so technically 4 sightings); 4 brown hyena sightings; 1 giraffe sighting; 2 honey badger sightings; 5 african wild cat sightings (4 on night drive); 3 bat eared fox sightings; 1 porcupine sighting
3. We also saw 1 kill (2 lions killed a brown hyena at Marie se Gat near Nossob), together with 2 attempted kills - cheetah stalking and chasing springbok. Also just missed out on a kill as saw a cheetah dragging the freshly caught springbok into the shade
4. While the above special sightings may seem impressive, there were vast periods of time when we saw next to nothing and I took far fewer photos than in Kruger.
5. One important point to bear in mind - the road from TR to Nossob is currently closed (only goes up to Leeudril) So if you are planning on heading up to Nossob, then you need to take the Mata Mata road and then the upper or lower dune roads. Quite a long journey.
6. There was definitely a lot more game on the western side of the park compared to the eastern side, probably attributable to rainfall.

13 Tips / Notes (1 for each day of our trip!)
1. Take lots of water. We drank on average 5 litres a day between the two of us
2. It gets VERY dusty.
3. The roads are definitely do-able in a sedan car. We drove all the main roads from Twee Rivieren all the way to Unions End and back. The only issues noted were the steep banks around Nossob region which prevented sightings but only had one sighting where I would have benefitted from having a higher vehicle. Having said that, the corrugations do get a bit on your nerves after a while
4. Go out early. Common sense but worth repeating. The gates opened at 7am and closed at 630pm. All of our decent sightings were within the first 2 hours of the day and the last hour of the day. Thereafter it was too hot and most of the animals dozed off.
5. Buy fresh bread and rosterkoek at Nossob. Order from reception and eat with strawberry jam. Very nice!
6. The power goes off at Nossob and Mata Mata at night (11pm) If you want to buy ice creams then Twee Rivieren is your only option
7. Take a spade. You never know when it will come in handy. The 4x4 trails were apparently quite rough and the guys were getting stuck so definitely a help.
8. Beware of the jackals in Nossob. They WILL steal your shoes and your meat so keep an eye open at all times and don't leave anything outside.
9. Visit the hides at night. We would braai at 7pm and wash up and then go spend 5 minutes at the hide at Nossob just to stretch our legs and have a little look-see. In 5 nights we had two blanks, 1 gemsbok, 1 springbok and 1 brown hyena sighting! Looking at the sightings book there were also reported sightings of lion and cheetah and another brown hyena sighting.
10. Beware of taking a blow up mattress. If you get a puncture you are in trouble. If you do take a blow up mattress then blow it up INSIDE the tent. One of our neighbours got a puncture and they had to keep trying to pump up their bed - not fun. For Kruger we use a blow up mattress but for KTP we used a stretcher bed with a self inflating mattress on top of it. Also gives you some extra space to store under the bed.
11. Fuel costs are significantly higher in KTP / Upington than they are at the coast. Petrol price was R 8.67 a litre at TR compared to R 8.01 in Pietermaritzburg.
12. Look out for Pale Chanting Goshawks sitting low to the ground. If there is a jackal nearby as well then pay particular attention. They often follow honey badgers around looking for food. We had 2 such sightings and were well rewarded
13. Look for animals right up to the gate. At TR, there is a little waterhole just outside the gate on the right hand side. Most cars don't even bother to have a little look there. On our first night at TR I decided to pull in there for a few minutes as it is so close to camp - and was VERY excited to see a brown hyena ambling down!

So that's it really - the choices of roads are very limiting and there are few picnic spots. Those that are there might not always have toilet paper as some of them only get serviced once a week.
But definitely a place that I would visit again, although not for another 5 or 10 years. It is very far and I must admit I found Northern Kruger to in some instances be quieter than KTP (due to the fact that there are really only two roads you can go on in KTP so that while there are undoubtedly fewer cars in KTP, those that are there all go on these 2 roads!) I also like the fact that there are a far greater diversity of large mammals in Kruger so that you never know what you are going to see!

Just my 2c worth. Hope this helps whoever is thinking of going to KTP!


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 Post subject: Re: KTP & Augrabies Feedback
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:35 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2007 12:58 pm
Posts: 125
Location: Pietermaritzburg
Glad the tips will be of help!

It certainly has its appeal and we thoroughly enjoyed it but as I said, not a trip that I would repeat on a yearly basis.

@Bush Baptist - yes, there are definite highlights to a trip to KTP especially having the opportunity of seeing brown hyena - but I enjoy seeing a wide range of animals. That's part of the beauty of going to Kruger - there is just such a huge range of animal species which just might be seen, from the tiny red duiker (which I have yet to see in Kruger) to the mighty Elephant, and we have been fortunate enough to have seen a number of really special sightings in Kruger. I do not like the traffic in Kruger and hate having a sighting spoiled by a horde of cars descending, but must admit that if you keep to the dirt roads in Kruger the traffic is not nearly as bad. One only has to look at the sightings boards to determine where everyone drives - on the tar roads - as most sightings are on these main roads. I have no doubt that some of the gravel roads have an equally good chance of producing great sightings.

You may remember me commenting on seeing a caracal and a honey badger walking side by side near Pretoriuskop - I believe this is similar to the jackal following the honey badger in order to see what the honey badger would dig up but can only speculate.

@ Sparks - I am not a great bird fundi but have a fair knowledge picked up over the years and especially from my attempts at photographing them. Lots of sightings of kori bustard, secretary bird and ostrich. Also sightings of crimson breasted shrike although not easy to get a decent pic of. Regarding the raptors, sightings included PCG, bateleur, white backed vulture, lanner falcon, banded eagle, tawny eagle, gabar goshawk off the top of my head. The white backed vultures have breeding nests in the riverbed just before the turn off to Marie se Gat coming from Nossob. The nests are unmistakeable - messy nests found on top of the trees. If you are interested in photographing birds, then good spots were Samevoeling near TR camp, together with the first waterhole north of Nossob - can't remember its name? Also Leeudril - some great shots of quelias and sandgrouse taking off in flight.

Hope this has helped and to all venturing off into the KTP - have an amazing time!

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 Post subject: Re: KTP & Augrabies Feedback
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:37 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2007 12:58 pm
Posts: 125
Location: Pietermaritzburg
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