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 Post subject: Mooses, Millipedes & a VERY Cute Stove KTP Oct09
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 9:43 pm 
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Prologue

I’ve just finished my Kruger trip report. It took nearly 8 months to write, but finishing it today made me remember how much joy I get from writing. :dance:

These days I’m living in the UK. There’s snow outside. It’s very cold. I miss Africa. But luckily, there’s something that can bring me ‘home’.

There’s one KTP trip I haven’t written a trip report for. It was an incredible trip in October last year and with finishing university and travelling and moving continents this past year, this report got postponed. And unlike my Kruger TR, I actually have full notes from this one, so I’ll be able to write things as they actually were. Yay!

I took this trip after I started working at Cheetah Outreach in Stellenbosch. My travel companions ‘J’ and ‘L’ were both fellow volunteers: J from Singapore and L from Germany. We’d thrown the trip together at the last minute. They had wanted to see the Kalahari and I had wanted to go again. Simple. And once again, Moose ends up doing a major trip without any planning.


Last edited by annapangolin on Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mooses and Millipedes: KTP...One More Time...
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 9:46 pm 
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Drive to KTP: October 25, 2009

I was panicking. I often do this before I set off. In May, I had managed to bring a friend and all of our supplies to KTP in my small car. This time there were 3 of us and an extra tent. We also brought enough food supplies to last the trip and enough water to last us a week. P@m was due to be in KTP at the same time and kindly offered to bring us some additional water, which would come just when we needed it most.

The plan was to be away for nearly two weeks, most of which would be spent in KTP and a day or two in Augrabies in the end. I had never been to Augrabies before.

But how would all of our things fit in my tiny Honda Jazz? I jittered nervously as my companions and I packed the car. Surely enough, everything fit. As usual, Moose was fussing and being silly over nothing. :slap:

We finally got on the road at 6:30pm. I always do long trips in South Africa the same way- by starting at night and arriving in the morning. That way, you never miss a day of the trip.

It was a slow start. Half an hour in, one of us realized we had left our wallet behind, which we obviously returned for. I also got utterly and completely lost around Canal Walk, very silly given that I had lived in that area for more than a year. We were on the road properly by 9pm. My companions promptly fell asleep.

We reached Upington at 5am. We had travelled with many empty 5 litre water bottles to save on weight on the drive up. And we filled them at the Engen 1-Stop. Have you ever tried to fill a 5 litre water bottle in the sinks in the ladies toilets? They don’t fit :wall: . It took a long time and we were very tired, but KTP was so close and I was nearly home!


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 Post subject: Re: Mooses and Millipedes: KTP...One More Time...
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 9:51 pm 
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Day 1: October 26, 2009

We arrived at the gate at 7am. The new reception building was open and I was very impressed. But it didn’t feel like Kgalagadi! It felt more like a Hilton Hotel, or like Sun City. I had e-mailed a ‘contact’ in the park a few days prior to mention I was going to be there, and I was treated extra nicely at reception as a result. I was told the contact would meet me in the campsite later that day. :thumbs_up:

One of the best feelings in the world, is bringing someone new to KTP. To see their reactions and to experience it through them. I was so excited to share my ‘home’ with J and L. :dance:

I was unbelievably tired, having worked the previous day and then driven all night, but when we pulled into the campsite I was completely buzzing. It was very windy and we struggled with our monster-sized tent, and had to do some improvisation when a pole snapped.

At this point, we all could have crawled into the tent and slept, but the park was calling- no, screaming to us and it simply couldn’t be ignored.

Deep breath. Here we go. I am HOME. :shock:

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First animal in, was a Pale Chanting Goshawk, just like it had been on previous trips. No better way to start the day! :dance:

The drive was kept short and we decided to drive as far as Aucterlonie and back. My passengers slept soundly. I hoped this wouldn’t become the norm…

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As we settled into the valley at the other end of the TR dune road, I heard a terrible ‘POP’ and the car lurched to one side :shock: . It began to limp terribly. My heart hit the floor. I couldn’t believe my tire had burst, just minutes into a two week trip. I didn’t have a spare. I did as Moose does and cried and panicked. I couldn’t leave the car to check it. Luckily, a game drive vehicle drove by. ‘Help! I think my tire has gone! What do I do?’. The driver, who I recognized as John, had a good look and told me it looked fine. And it was. Turns out there was a stick stuck in it. Tire fine. Trip not ruined. Moose still a drama-queen. :roll:

So we continued to Aucterlonie. It was already hot, but KTP welcomed us (those of us who were awake) with everything it had to offer, even if most of it was shading under trees.

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We stopped at Aucterlonie, but it was too windy and hot for much of a walk. And we were all exhausted and dehydrated. J took my camera and started fiddling with the features I didn’t know I had, and ended up with some fabulous photos like these. :cam:

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And then everyone fell asleep again. :wall:

At Houmed I saw a KTP traffic jam (2 cars). Then I saw it. Then I said it.

My life has changed forever!:big_eyes:

Before me was my very first Leopard in Tree. My first ever leopard was a LOGFAAN (leopard on ground far away at night) in KTP back in June, but this my way first LIT. That's the one that counts. :thumbs_up:

There were tears in my eyes as I stopped the car and woke my passengers.

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There were no words. We sat and watched it for an hour. It jumped from one tree and settled in another. It was huge and gorgeous. And we’d been in KTP for 2 hours. What was going to happen in the next two weeks??

My passengers stayed awake all the way back to camp after that one


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 Post subject: Re: Mooses and Millipedes: KTP...One More Time...
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:03 pm 
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Thanks Micetta :)

The sad thing is that the file on my computer with trip reports in it is more than 70,000 words long, and my entire Master's Degree thesis was 30,000 words. I guess it shows what matters most to me. :whistle:

I'm going to try to write a little bit every few days. It really helps that I have very detailed notes for this one.


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 Post subject: Re: Mooses and Millipedes: KTP...One More Time...
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:28 pm 
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Day 1: PM Twee Rivieren Cooking School

We arrived back to camp exhausted. I must admit that I had lost my sense of humour and my temper somewhere in the heat and the wind and the fact I hadn’t slept in several days. :evil:

But joy soon arrived when my ‘contact’ met us in the campsite and offered us the chance of a lifetime… more about that later… or not… :naughty: :dance:

We also booked ourselves for a night drive from Twee Rivieren. Of all the times I’d been to KTP, I’d not yet had the chance to take a drive from here before and I couldn’t wait! :D

Before the drive, we decided to cook. Or should I say, ‘cook’. :slap:

If you read my last KTP report, you may have read that on the last night in the park we ‘cooked’ for the first time and this was accomplished by pouring a tin of soup into a Ziploc baggie and holding the baggie inside a boiling kettle, while boiling the kettle multiple times to slightly warm the soup.

Here's a reminder of what that looked like:

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Moose doesn’t have the skill of cooking. And hadn't learned from that experience either.

So before this trip, I invested in a little cooking stove. I thought it was very cute indeed :angel: . I also bought some coals and some firelighters. They were also very cute. That was it. I was super-excited about all the glorious food I was going to cook with my very cute stove.

I gently placed 3 coals in the bottom of the stove and put a firelighter on top and lit it. It burned gloriously… for 1 minute. Not enough to boil the pot of water. So I lit another firelighter, and another. Still not enough to warm the pot. I just couldn’t understand it. :huh:

Our noodles swirled sadly around in the pot’s cold water :(. We added a chicken stock cube, but it only made the noodles look sadder. After nearly an hour, we decided that we would soak the noodles rather than cook them, and we would add powdered soup to thicken the mixture.

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We gave up… but ate the soup anyway. Cold, raw, gooey noodles coated in soup powder and chicken stock. I don’t recommend this. :slap:

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My new travel companions weren’t happy with my cooking so far. We were all a little fried from the sun and this didn’t help us to ‘bond’.

LIT aside, this wasn't the best start :hmz:


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 Post subject: Re: Mooses and Millipedes: KTP...One More Time...
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:08 pm 
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Day 1: Twee Rivieren Night Drive

I got the spotlight. Obviously. If you read my reports you know that I am prepared to fight for the death to operate a spotlight. I am completely shameless. :roll:

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We were accompanied by a tour group who had come up from Upington just to do a night drive and have dinner, before going back to Upington that night- crazy! It meant they were on a tight schedule and the drive would be shorter than usual. For once, I was so tired I didn’t mind.

I took bad photos of my first KTP sunset of the trip. :cam:

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The drive went by in a blur- literally. I just couldn’t hold the camera steady and came away with some wonderfully rubbish photos like these:

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I wrote in my notebook that night: ‘GUIDE SUCKED’. I can’t remember why :hmz: and I think those words were more in frustration at the heat and wind, which got even stronger throughout the evening. It may have been because the guide spoke nearly entirely Afrikaans to the Afrikaans tour group and I only caught the occasional word that floated to the back of the truck… ‘Slang’… ‘Springhaas’…

One great thing about the drive was that we went up the closed Nossob road. :dance: I remember thinking that there was no way this road would be completed in the coming months. It was still very much a construction zone, with which the truck really struggled at times.

Towards the end of the drive, I caught a porcupine in my spotlight very close to the truck, which was awesome! And yet in my notebook I wrote, ‘guide didn’t even stop- MORON!’.

That night just wasn’t my night. I took it out on my friends. I took it out on the guide that night, who was in reality, completely awesome :thumbs_up: (and possibly Jannie? :redface:).

Back at camp I was in a fit of rage. :evil: I wrote ‘this is wind from HELL!’ in my notebook that night. It was indeed very, very windy. Like nothing I’d ever seen before. :big_eyes: I remembered the dust devil that hit that very spot a year ago and carried my tent bag to Botswana. The tent tonight shook and caved in with its broken poll. I took one more sleeping pill than I should have :naughty: and fell asleep. I just wanted to get out of Twee Rivieren. Wrong attitude, Miss Moose. :rtm:

But never mind, tomorrow was a new day and it would bring us to Nossob…


Last edited by annapangolin on Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mooses and Millipedes: KTP...One More Time...
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 10:37 pm 
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Day 2: The Drive to Nossob

We were up at 4:30 the next morning to pack up the tent and be on the road for 6.

When all was ready, I turned on the car and realized I’d forgotten to fill up last night :wall: . There wasn’t enough to get to Nossob and the filling station didn’t open until 7:30. So much for the 4:30 wake up call. :slap:

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So we drove in to the park anyway and went as far as Houmed, knowing we’d have to return to Twee Rivieren again that morning.

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We saw two Cape Cobras in the road, possibly a mating pair, but they were gone before the camera was ready.

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The drive also brought the first lions of the trip, a male and female sleeping behind a thornbush. Despite these being my guests' first lions, we soon decided these ones were ‘boring’ and continued back to Twee Rivieren.

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We filled up at camp and set off for Nossob.

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We decided to take the lower dune road on the strength that there were Honey Badgers on the sightings board. I was lucky to be travelling with people who agreed that Honey Badgers are infinitely more exciting than lions.

There were no Honey Badgers on the dune road, but we certainly didn’t regret it! :dance:

Big surprise came at 11am with some Bat Eared Foxes!

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We were also rewarded with some meerkats. These ones were very slim and athletic and we gasped in horror when we realized that the little meerkat we cared for back in Cape Town looked nothing like these ones. Ours was a FATTY. :rtm:

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One of the best sightings was this family of Ostriches in the road:

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Before we got in to Nossob, there was one last surprise… Kudus! Now I know Kudu’s are not tremendously exciting, but they are in KTP. These ones were at Casper se Draai… :dance:

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As we approached Nossob, it was a clear that a storm was on its way. This time, it was a weather storm, and not one of Moose’s emotional storms. :thumbs_up:

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We arrived at Nossob in the early afternoon. Now I was really HOME. This is where the tone I used in my notebook changed. Gone were the nasty little comments. They were replaced with, ‘In NOSSOB! Happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, HAPPY!’

:dance:


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 Post subject: Re: Mooses and Millipedes: KTP...One More Time...
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:49 pm 
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Pumbaa: Thank you! And you summed it up perfectly- 'there is nothing to beat the next day after an exhausting travel- you always feel like a complete other person'. Very, very true :clap:

Thanks CC!

Scouter: Thank you :) It's nice to know i'm not the only one who throws wobbles in the park. Doesn't it seem so silly when you look back and realize where you were at the time and how perfect it all was, and yet you cant appreciate it in the moment? But you're so right- it's down to heat and food.

Thank you Katja :)

Fluuterby: Thanks. Ill have to start posting more about the really truly awesome night drives i've been on.

Thanks Anne-Marie :) This was the first trip I did after you gave me your bird book. It got a LOT of use on this trip and its been my best friend ever since. It's actually sitting on the sofa with me right now...

Thank you Jaybabe :) My avatar is part of a painting I painted. It's not the greatest painting, but it has lots of meaning and significance to me. It's about a trip to an 'unmentionable park', near Sun City :whistle:

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 Post subject: Re: Mooses and Millipedes: KTP...One More Time...
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:13 pm 
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Day 2 PM: Nossob Campsite

At Nossob we could finally settle in properly. We were going to be here for the next few days, and decided to relax a little and hang around camp. It wasn’t as windy here as it had been at TR and it was considerably cooler. Excellent conditions for relaxation. :)

We drove the Marie se Draai loop in the evening, but there wasn’t much to be found. The roads were great though- I think we got lucky with the graders on this trip. :thumbs_up:

We were back at 7 and J prepared dinner this time, so it actually worked. We bought some wood from the shop (you need wood for cooking? :huh: ) but the peices were too big for my very cute stove, so J insisted on using the braai stands in camp. These weren’t as cute. We did have some lovely macaroni and cheese that night. I was determined to find a way to save my very cute stove from becoming redundant on this trip...

It was decided the evening would be spent in the hide. We watched the resident jackals catching and crunching bugs in the spotlight, and took lots and lots of sunset photos. Sadly, I can’t find a single one of those photos. I seem to be missing this evening’s pictures, hence none in this installment. :oops:

I was shocked when at one point I looked over to the person sitting next to me in the hide. Last year, I wrote in my trip report about a French photographer couple. They stuck out because they saw EVERYTHING. The man decided what he wanted to photograph that day and went out and photographed it. That simple. "Ahhhh, today I will photograph some caracals". Sure enough he'd gone out and found several. The next day it would be leopards. He'd get whatever he wanted, every time and in perfect light. :wall: The loveliest people ever, but really, really irritating, for reasons just mentioned.

And here they were, a year later sitting in the hide beside me. They remembered me and I definitely remembered them. It was lovely to catch up. I also knew who i'd be following out of the gate on tomorrow's drive... :whistle:

The mood in the hide changed when someone showed us a video they had taken that day of a lion having a violent seizure and dying in the road. We went to bed after that.


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 Post subject: Re: Mooses and Millipedes: KTP...One More Time...
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:54 pm 
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Day 3 AM: Drive North from Nossob

One thing that struck me immediately at Nossob was the lack of bugs compared with at Twee Rivieren. Specifically, those ants. You know the ones I’m talking about. The really BIG ones, with the yellowy abdomens. The ones that appear under your tent when you try to pack it away. Hold on, there’s no excuse here… I’m sitting beside my Insect guide… one moment…

Camponotus fulvopilosus or ‘Bal-byters’. Nice name. :thumbs_up:

Give me Red Romans. Give me Parktown Prawns. DO NOT give me these ants.

Anyway, the relative lack of these meant I slept the last night with my tent open. It was lovely and I woke up refreshed. :)

We drove north as soon as the gate opened, behind the French people (who quickly left us in their dust).

My two travel companions fell asleep every time they blinked :roll: . It meant that they missed lots and lots of fabulous birds.

There was one tree with at least 4 species sitting in it! Unfortunately, it was early and the light was poor.

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At Kwang we came across a jackal and a wildebeest sharing a drink. I even woke up the girls for this one:

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I really struggled to identify birds on this drive, even with the bird book that anne-marie had given me the week before and Caracal’s fabulous home-made KTP raptor guide (she really is a hugely creative person).

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On our way home at Cubitje, we found one of the sights of the trip. :cam: The sky was filled with vast clouds of Sandgrouses. They were coming in from every direction and swirling around in the sky, their wings making the most impressive sound. They had attracted quite a crowd. We all parked up on the bank opposite the waterhole to watch the spectacle. The vehicles sat in a semi-circle and really made it feel like we were watching a play in a theatre. And we sat for hours. :dance:

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Double click on the photo below for an awesome video. If you watch it, make sure your sound is turned up. :thumbs_up:

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Falcons darted through the endless crowd, picking off individuals. There was also a lone Eagle on hand to take advantage of the situation, either stealing the Falcon’s newly captured Sandgrouse, or occasionally taking one itself. It would fly to a tree, eat its bird and go back for another. Unfortunately, the tree was directly in the sunlight and I got terrible photos.

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We went back to Nossob feeling absolutely INCREDIBLE.


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 Post subject: Re: Mooses and Millipedes: KTP...One More Time...
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 8:50 pm 
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Day 3 PM: A Storm is Brewing in Nossob

We had spaghetti (cooked over on the braai through, and not on my very cute stove) by the lovely J, so again, it was very tasty. Yum yum.

After that I went to the laundry room to work on my Masters thesis, which hadn’t really been started yet and was due within a week of me getting back to University in Cape Town. :whistle: :naughty: Education? What education?

In reception we ordered a loaf of bread. I live for Nossob Roosterkoek, and I figured there were three of us and a loaf would be like a giant Roosterkoek :big_eyes: . Bliss. :dance:

Spent a bit of time in the hide where I met someone who had the life I wanted! He was a writer and photographer for Go! Magazine. These days he’s one of the presenters on 50/50 as well. We talked for hours and through him I learned that the future I wanted was out there and with a bit of work I could find it. He helped me to realize that my dream to become a field guide wasn’t going to be impossible. This was yet another meeting that encouraged me to follow my dreams. :thumbs_up:

J stayed behind to cook while L and I drove out at 5 that evening. We planned to go just as far as Rooikop and photograph the scenery. By this time the sky was turning pretty amazing. :cam:

We got word that there were 3 male lions on the main road about a kilometre south of the Marie se Draai turnoff. On our way there, we were stopped and told about another lion, this time a female, at the Marie se Draai waterhole. We decided to try for the female, and then head to the males if there was still time.

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(I worked so hard to get the PCG in the same shot as the rainbow!)

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Surely enough, and at the end of a rainbow no less, we found the female.

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There was a huge traffic jam here, but everyone was orderly, but it seems there’s always a jerk to ruin a sighting. :roll:

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The jerk was the guy to the left of me in this photo. He shortly overtook us (laughing) and began his little reign of terror.

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The lioness walked along the road for a long time- followed by this bakkie, and I mean FOLLOWED. He never stopped, instead he stayed 8 feet behind her as she walked and followed her all the way down the road until she’d finally had enough and very smartly disappeared over a dune. It was pretty shocking. Not to mention that he spoiled the other sighting for the other cars. Early on, we had had our view and moved to the back of the queue, but the other 7 cars had no chance of seeing the lion with this idiot blocking the road. There were lights being flashed and horns being used. That guy came very close to hitting a lion that evening. I was compelled and disgusted enough to report him the next day. :rtm:

So we left the crowd to see whether the males were still down the road. We found a few cars parked (including the nice man who’d tipped us off about the males). Despite being in a truck, he told us he couldn’t see anything, but other cars said the males were there. We saw them right away. They were gorgeous and one had a black mane. We appreciated the relative peace at this sighting before turning back to Nossob.

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Our trip back was interrupted by the most fabulous skies I have ever seen. You know how photos never express how good something actually looked? I can’t tell you how amazing this evening was. :D

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L even managed to get a photo on the way home as lighting hit Nossob Camp in front of us. We drove back in absolute awe. :dance:

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Honestly, that night we weren’t in a hurry to get back to our campsite. It’s a long story, but we wanted to avoid the contractor guys who had been working on KTP’s water purification system. They had camped beside us in TR and were now here in Nossob too. I didn’t have a great feeling about them, because in TR they had offered to let us drive up the closed road to Kij Kij behind them and before the gates opened too. :rtm: Not cool. They were obviously turned down. They had also taken quite a liking to my travel companions.

So L and I arrived in Nossob as the gates closed but we didn’t want to go back to camp. We decided instead to park the car outside reception and watch the lightening unfold in the hide.

What fun! What could be more exciting than sitting in Nossob hide alone in total darkness watching lightening hit everything in sight? :dance: :big_eyes:

Totally oblivious and with joy in our hearts, we skipped off to the hide… :whistle:


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 Post subject: Re: Mooses and Millipedes: KTP...One More Time...
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:51 pm 
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Day 3: A Very Floody Night at Nossob

But before we ‘skipped off’ to the hide, we shot this video. There really was a lot of lightning…

(Double-click image for video)
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So we settled comfortably in the hide, watching the lightning hit everything around us. Nobody else was around and we wondered why no one else had shared in our completely brilliant idea. :dance:

“This is so cool!” We kept shouting. Then the thunder started, and we had to yell, “THIS IS SO COOL!” even louder.

Then the thunder got LOUD. The hide shook. “This is so cool!” gave way to screams of terror. :big_eyes:

This was a bad idea. I wrote in my journal that it was ‘worse than the worst horror film!’. We were alone in the hide, and clinging to the walls in fear.

And then the rain started. It came sideways through the hide, soaking us completely while we were still inside. I put my camera inside my jacket as if it would help. :slap:

We decided we weren’t safe and couldn’t stay and decided to run for the car. We both lost our shoes in the foot deep water at the other end of the boardwalk. We just left them. They would still be there tomorrow. I could feel myself stepping on bugs and sharp rocks under the water. It wasn’t nice, but we got to the car and took shelter.

We drove back to the campsite, which is fun in the dark, when all of the deep ground squirrel holes are concealed under water. When I finally saw my tent I panicked. J and L had put their tent up away from the tree, on higher ground. I had put mine as close to the tree as I could get it, and it was under several inches of water. :wall:

I took these photos after it had been moved:

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I had also left my tent open that night to ‘keep it nice and cool’. Double fail. :slap: The contractors I had so disliked were quickly on the scene to move my tent out of its lake and on to higher ground. They were hugely helpful and we soon had all of my tents very wet contents moved to the car.

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All the campers at Nossob that night gathered in the laundry room. We had all lost something in rain. Some much more so than others. If you’ve been to Nossob campsite, you’ll have seen the really big tree in the middle. I can promise you that this site is by far the lowest in the campsite, with the area around the tree able to hold a good foot of water. Luckily, the people camped there had a great sense of humour. Drenched mattresses and sleeping bags were draped over all the sinks in the laundry room.

I must say I loved that night :D . The atmosphere in the laundry room was wonderful. We were all smiling and laughing (apart from one of the contractors who really had lost everything). Everyone was helping each other and sharing what they had. A stranger even took off my soaked coat and gave me their warm dry one. Some children were passing around biltong, chips and borewors.

Many people slept in the laundry room that night, but we decided to go back to our tents. After tipping the water out of mine, it would be reasonably acceptable. J slept in the car because of the mud in her tent.

But before that, the contractors cooked us the most incredible braai that they somehow kept going through the rain. We really owed them that night. :thumbs_up:

When we got back to our campsite, one of the staff appeared with our wood. Earlier that day, I’d gone to reception and asked whether anyone would be able to chop up the wood we’d just purchased because the pieces were too big to fit in my very cute stove. When I was told that we were welcome to use the big wood in our braai stands, all I could say was, ‘but… but… it’s a very cute stove’. And my very cute stove needed very cute, compact pieces of wood. I’m amazed that they agreed. I would have laughed at me and my very cute stove. But it was a very cute stove… I left the wood at reception to be chopped and ‘cutified’.

Anyway, a staff member brought the wood over after the storm and deposited it on the very wet ground beside the very wet tree. The wood had obviously been left outside during the very wet rain. The wood was very wet. My very cute stove would have to wait. It was all very sad. It was a very cute stove.

The night remained eventful. More than a dozen millipedes had taken shelter under my tent and after several very unpleasant ‘crunches’, I stayed incredibly still for fear of more. This was just before extreme love for millipedes began, but I certainly didn’t want to crush any. :(

Some of the millipedes:

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I could have enjoyed the sounds of nature (sans millipede crunches), but our neighbour was drying out his belongings through the night with a noisy generator.

My tent had been tied to the bin to keep it in place as its pegs were somewhere under water. At 2am a jackal knocked the bin lid onto my tent.

The next morning we were told at reception that 28mm fell in that hour. I'm not sure how accurate that is, but I could believe it.


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 Post subject: Re: Mooses and Millipedes: KTP...One More Time...
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:36 pm 
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Day 4 AM: Nossob

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5:30: My alarm goes off. I had not had a restful sleep and I’m too tired to drive.
5:37: I’m feeling restless, and want to go for a drive.
5:38: Kick poor sleeping friend out of my car, so I can go drive.
5:39: Sleeping friend (J) decides to come on drive.
5:41: We are at the gate in our pyjamas with bread and peanut butter.
5:43: I spot my shoes floating in a puddle near the gate to the hide and retrieve them.

There was a lot of water at the gate, but the car made it out- just. We decided to go south and look for the lions, as J hadn’t seen them the day before.

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We had a rather uneventful drive down to Casper se Draai. I wanted to drive further but the roads were a river. If we’d have had to leave Nossob that day, it would have been impossible in my Honda Jazz. I thought about my old Mini who came on my first couple f KTP trips. That little car would have sailed through these puddles. It was such a tough little 4x4 wannabe. :thumbs_up:

We did the MSD loop on the way back. There were some brilliant leopard tracks in the road, but by now the sun was well up and nothing was around.

Before leaving the loop, we saw an awkward teenage PCG eating a mouse in a tree.

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Where the loop rejoins the main road we saw a couple of cars gathered. Lions! Right beside the road! Another car told us they had been there since 5:30, which meant that I had driven right past them on the way south. They were sitting beside a huge puddle in the road, and I had probably been more focused on powering through the puddle than looking for lions. I may have given them quite the shower and I felt very guilty. :redface:

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These lions gave me the best Lion ‘photo-op’, I’ve ever had. They were right outside our window and were very relaxed. We stayed with them for a long time and J loved her first real lion experience. :dance:

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But just a little further down the road was the sighting of the day! A PCG was bathing in the road. Even J agreed that this sighting was way better than the lions. We watched as the little Goshawk fluffed its feathers and admired itself in the puddle. Every now and then it looked at us with a very embarrassed look on its face, but always resumed its bath. We stayed here longer than we stayed with the lions.

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Then it was back to camp to spend the afternoon discovering what Nossob has to offer within its perimeter fence…


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 Post subject: Re: Mooses and Millipedes: KTP...One More Time...
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 12:03 pm 
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Day 4 PM: A Walk Around Camp

At camp, we put all of our wet clothes and things our on tents, groundsheets and car to dry. The wood for my very cute stove was lovingly placed on the table in the sun. It would dry, and we would be able to use my very cute stove very soon…

It was incredibly hot, but I had always wanted to walk the entire perimeter fence at Nossob. So we decided we’d take it slowly and bring water with us.

As we began the walk, J once again took my camera and started to show me all of the cool things it could do. On this walk, I focused on the ‘super-macro’ setting, which got me to the surface of KTP’s itsy-bitsy wildlife. :cam:

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I photographed the smallest things I could find. The ticks and red bug in these photos were very, very tiny.

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We took a walk around the fence starting from the hide and going north, examining every plant, bug and lizard we came across. It was wonderful.

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When we were almost back at the swimming pool, we found ourselves in someone’s garden, with a random fence blocking the rest of out ‘perimeter walk’ :wall: . We didn’t want to have to go around again to get back and we didn’t want to walk through a garden, so after trying unsuccessfully to get over the fence (much falling and catching clothes on hooks), we found that we were just small enough to squeeze through it. :thumbs_up:

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After the walk, we wanted nothing more than to jump into the pool, but the contractors were there. We may have been thankful for their help, but it didn’t mean we wanted to go swimming with them…

So we did laundry instead, showered and got clean. Everything dried in minutes! KTP is the ultimate hair dryer.

Poking around the campsite and looking for things to do to avoid the contractors, I discovered my love of millipedes. :dance:

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I had been terrified of them before this, always giving them much distance. When I pointed out how many were around our campsite that afternoon, J surprised me by walking over and picking up the biggest one in sight.

J had worked at Singapore Zoo and it turns out one of her jobs was to do millipede encounters with the public! So I was in safe hands when she handed me the millipede. She explained that they had no ‘biting parts’, and their only defence was to excrete a cyanide-like substance. Well that’s okay then. J just told me not to lick it. Indeed I loved it very much, but I wasn’t planning to lick it. :thumbs_up:

Once it was in my hands, I could never go back. I named it ‘Steve the Millipede’. In my trip report journal I wrote, ‘I love millipedes! I’m so in love with millipedes! I heart Steve’. I decided that I’d probably have a millipede in my arms for the rest of the trip.

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I’m scared of everything, but I’m a snake fanatic. I share my tiny bedroom with a 9 foot long python named ‘Kitten’. I think that millipedes reminded me of snakes, but more tickle-y, more chilled out and less prone to take off a finger without warning. :shock:

I sat in the hide (without a millipede) and wrote up my trip report. We had some delicious cous cous for an afternoon snack. It was cooked on the big ugly braai and not on my very cute stove, but with the sun working its magic on the wood, this may be the last time I had to eat food prepared on such an un-cute contraption. :naughty:


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 Post subject: Re: Mooses and Millipedes: KTP...One More Time...
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:13 pm 
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Day 4: An Evening Visitor at Nossob

We took a short evening drive to Casper se Draai. I’ve always loved this waterhole, and it’s just the right distance for a well-timed evening drive.

J drove so that she wouldn’t sleep (for a change). And this time, all three of us were along for the drive.

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Tonight we saw Kudus at Marie se Draai! Seeing Kudus in KTP is always a thrill, and there was a big male in the group this time. :dance:

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There wasn’t much action at Casper se Draai, and it was getting late so we had to turn for home.

On the way back something caught my eye. “What on earth is that!?” :big_eyes:

It was a Kori Bustard on display! It was hugely impressive and we watched as he strutted across the savanna displaying to no one in particular, at least no one we could see…

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Once again, tonight brought awesome sunsets. :cam:

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We barely made it to the gate in time, wanting to stay in the park to enjoy every last drop of sunset.

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That night, we cooked some very weird pasta :(. It had soya mince and onion soup in it. It was extremely and ridiculously salty and some of us couldn’t handle it. But… it was cooked on the very cute stove! So I obviously pretended it was the greatest meal I’d had in decades and choked my way through the lot of it. :thumbs_up: My very cute stove had made enemies, and it needed all the help it could get.

But can you see the very cute stove in the photo? Can you see how it fits so perfectly on the table? Can you see that BOTH sides can be used for cooking? That’s two sides at once- one to make bad pasta and another to make tremendously salty soya mince onion goop. Can you see the beauty, the sheer magnificence? Can you see the brilliant ergonomics of it all? Would you agree that this is one very cute stove?

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As I sat admiring the very cute stove, L suddenly shouted, ‘a squirrel just ran up the tree!’. I had seen a flash of fur in the corner of my eye too. The ‘squirrel’ had come through the fence, run under my car and bounced up the tree we were eating under.

I knew that KTP’s squirrels were not the type to jump up into trees, and a quick pass over the tree with my spotlight gave it away instantly. There was a genet in our tree! I had never seen a genet properly until now, and it had been high on the list of things I wanted to see. And now there was one in our tree, no doubt drawn to our campsite by the overwhelming beauty of the very cute stove gleaming so irresistibly on our table top in the luminous glow of our R35 wind-up lantern.

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We photographed it for a while, before deciding he’d definitely had enough. We dimmed all of our lights so that he could make a break for it. And he did- down the tree, back under the car and through the fence again. This had been the highlight of the trip so far. Its amazing how some of the best sightings happen right in camp.

After that, we gathered at the tent where the Go photographer was staying and were treated to the most incredible slide-show of his photos. KTP is one beautiful place, but seeing it through photos like that showed it in a whole new light. Wow.

What a night. Slept beautifully until 4 the next morning when I was awoken by…


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