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 Post subject: GavinW Into the Lion's Den KTP November 2010
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 12:32 pm 
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Into the Lion’s Den KTP November 2010

Ten years ago today, Wannabe Nerd and I got married. :dance:

Whilst some may say that that in itself is entering the Lion’s den, I beg to differ. We have had the most amazing time over the past 10 years and our times in the Kgalagadi have been especially precious.
So as an anniversary present to ourselves we decided that there would be no place more apt for us to celebrate than in the Kgalagadi.

Unfortunately,work commitments forced us to take the trip a month early, however minor alterations to plans did not deter us and we were booked and on our way on Friday 12 November.

We left a wintery Lakeside at 2am and made good time up towards our favourite place. After a breakfast in Calvinia and slipping quickly through Upington to get some biltong from the butchery on the way in we were soon on this road:

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I always get excited as we travel northwards along this road and start seeing the red dunes along the side of the road.

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Getting closer :D

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Eventually we arrived at 3pm and booked in.

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After booking in we were off to find Kgalagadi Guru, who was hibernating in his air conditioned office! It was great to eventually meet Jannie in person, and after a not so quick chat, a booking arranged for a morning walk and arrangements to meet again later, we were off to chalet no1 to unpack.

We had a doorman to welcome us as we got there!

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_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Into the Lion's Den KTP November 2010
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:05 am 
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Thanks everyone for your wonderful replies. :D :redface:

Friday 12 November continued....

We spent a little time unpacking what we needed for the evening out of the Jap (SueJ’s name for our bakkie) as we were leaving for Nossob first thing in the morning.


Our original idea was to have a short snooze before going out for an evening drive. Well that did not happen. We were too excited and in any event it was already 4pm and a sleep now just would not have worked. So instead I went off to refuel and to reduce the tyre pressure, whist Debbie went off to get the permit.

We set off on our first game drive of the holiday and decided to head up towards Leeuwdril on the newly (partially) opened road.

Being 4pm and about 36 degrees it was not surprising that nothing much was moving about. We did see this heavily pregnant springbok taking refuge in the shade



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As well as this Juvenile PCG (I think) in a tree right next to the road.

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We got back to Samevloeiing, and as we still had time ,we decided to go for a drive up to Houmoed and back before calling it a day.(We were not used to the late gate closing hours after 3 successive trips previously in May) :?

Just before Houmoed we experienced our first KTP traffic jam.

Lions, doing what lions do best at 5.30 pm on a summer’s day. Passed out under a tree, occasionally lifting their heads to see what all the commotion on the nearby road is about.
They were fairly far off the road and we couldn’t really get a good view of them, but we did manage a few really bad proof pics:

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Some idiots from Botswana decided that they needed a better view. :big_eyes:

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Luckily this was the only such incident we experienced during our trip.

We were pleased to have seen the felines on our first trip and yes we were back in the park!!!! :dance:

We then decided to let the sleeping cats be and made our way back to Samevloeiing for sundowners and to find the non existant Samevloeiing leopard.

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No leopard, but an amazing sunset and a bonus bunny.

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We returned to the chalet to find Jannie and Vanessa waiting for us. We had a few drinks with them before rustling up some supper and were in bed exhausted but happy by 9.30.

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Into the Lion's Den KTP November 2010
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:19 pm 
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Location: Heart - Grootkolk, Soul - KTP, Body - far too far south most of the time!
A new TR! :dance: Firstly a belated Happy Anniversary Gavin and Debbie! :clap: :clap: A great start to your trip. Your buzzard is a Jackal buzzard - with a white breast, not very common so well done! :thumbs_up: (I have only ever seen 3 of them - on the way to WCNP) Scrub hare and lions on the first drive too! :clap: Keep it coming! :dance: :popcorn:

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 Post subject: Re: Into the Lion's Den KTP November 2010
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:56 am 
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arks wrote:
J

@Micetta and Nina: Chalet #1 at TR is at the far end of the row of chalets with it's very own dune in front and highly recommended. Only downside is that TVs have now been installed in some of the chalets :roll:


Yes but the TV's do not work, and they do have off/on facilities! We stayed in the adjoining Chalet 2 this year and can confirm it is a superb chalet, great having it's own dune and quieter than those behind the campsite.

See image on my last day in the park of this trip.

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Chalet 2 shown, with Chalet 1 attached to the right.

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KTP 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpaste

Kalahari Tapas 2010http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=48065&hilit=kalahari+tapas

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 Post subject: Re: Into the Lion's Den KTP November 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 2:22 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Thanks everyone for the kind comments. Also thanks for the Jackal Buzzard ID :redface:

We really enjoyed chalet no 1 in Twee Riveren but didn't really spend enough time there to really appreciate it. I do think it is THE chalet to be in though :D

Saturday 13 November: Twee Riveren to Nossob


The next morning we woke up not quite as early as I would have liked, :evil: packed all our stuff into the Jap and were ready to roll about 15 minutes after gate opening time.

The idea was to head straight to Nossob and not to return to pack up later. (Last May we decided on a morning drive before setting off to Nossob and had to leave a stunning cheetah sighting so that we could book out the chalet on time.) :evil:

The elusive Samevloeiing leopard was again nowhere to be seen so we continued over a quite yet beautiful dune road en route to the Auob riverbed.


We got just past Houmoed when we saw a car stopped on the side of the road….. Look African Wild Cat I said….. NO………… replied Debs…. THAT’S A CARACAL :dance: :dance:

WOW…. A first for both of us!! (Not counting Moose’s caracal at Spier outreach)

He was in the riverbed on the right and slowly walked up to the road,

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crossed it,

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and went and contemplated life quietly on the dune to the left.


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He looked as if he needed a good brush and groom, but then I suppose which teenagers don’t.

It was really a very special sighting, and we were both over the moon. And this was just our first morning out.

After a while a few other cars arrived and we decided to carry on.

Last May, just south of Montrose we saw a Martial eagle’s nest with a mating couple . We had heard that there was now a chick on the nest so we were eager to see if it was the same nest. Sure it was!!!. Bad lighting so this is just a proof pic.

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We got to Kamqua and it was still pretty early so I was persuaded to head further north to have a look at the Hyeana den just north of Urikaruus. Nobody home….. Oh well that’s the way it goes.

On the way back to the dune road we saw these bokke on the side of the road

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And this Koraan at the start of the Upper Dune Road which I really enjoyed

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But not as much as the next sighting we had, a few minutes later………….. :D

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Into the Lion's Den KTP November 2010
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 12:55 pm 
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The trip to Nossob continued……….

The rest of the trip along the dune road was relatively uneventful, but driving on a virgin graded road was absolute heaven.
There wasn’t much moving in the heat by this stage, but we got a nice pic of this wildebeest

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We arrived at Dikbaardskolk and was met by the resident mongoose

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As well as this sorry looking jackal. I must admit I was a little nervous of it as it looked pretty desperate and was quite forward in it manner, begging etc :shock:


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After a quick break we headed up to Nossob and set up camp in the campsite adjacent to the corner campsite. (We call it “Old campsite no 4”). The campsite in the corner is our favourite but the one we got was equally as good.

We spent the balance of the afternoon in camp getting sorted, before going on a short drive down to Marie se Gat and back that evening.
Game wise it was very quiet but we did see this Pale Chanting Goshawk:

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We spent a quiet and relaxed time just sitting at the waterhole at Maries se gat before driving back to camp


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That evening we were treated to one of Nossob’s stunning sunsets, before crashing early to bed.

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(When we got back home we saw on the webcam that we had missed two lions at the waterhole that night!! Whilst we were fast asleep. :evil: ) Oh well I suppose you can’t be everywhere all the time. No-one else mentioned them so I’m sure we were not the only ones asleep. :hmz:

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


Last edited by GavinW on Mon Dec 27, 2010 8:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Into the Lion's Den KTP November 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:11 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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@billyf, analie, kamedjo, lionspoon and anne-marie Thanks for your comments.
Phugwane, thanks for the info wrt the buzzards. So is it a jackal buzzard? :? :redface:

@KTF Hooked Now I got you worrying :twisted:

Caracal Ok I am slowly getting to the next episode.................

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I have a hectic day at work today so I will probably only be able to carry on tomorrow

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


Last edited by GavinW on Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Into the Lion's Den KTP November 2010
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:13 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Hi everyone, sorry about the delay in getting this episode out :redface:
Suej... I would send you more :popcorn: if you lived a bit closer!! :D

Sunday 14 November Nossob


We awoke refreshed and were the first car at the gate waiting to go out. We had decided, all things being equal, to head north up as far as Polentswa as we had not ventured north so far this trip, and I was hoping that the light would be better for waterhole photography at Cubitje Quap.

The day started with this sunrise whilst we were waiting for the guy with the keys to come along and open the gate (shame the poor guy was really battling with the 5.30am start :) ):

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All was pretty quiet as we headed up north. Debs got this nice shot of a jackal drinking at Qubitje Quap

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whilst I saw these wildebeest approaching from the east.(Sorry I just love this photo)

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We watched the comings and goings at the waterhole for a while before heading off again.

As we got to Bedinkt, we saw a brown hyeana walking away from the waterhole across the open pan. We had just missed her drinking at the waterhole, but we were at least fortunate enough to see her for a few minutes painstakingly (for us) walking away.
The image is still in our memory banks if not on film.

We carried on up to Polentswa and saw pretty much nothing, so we took a picture of the windmill at Langklaas and springbok at Kousant.

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I won’t even mention the leopard we missed by 30 seconds just north of Bedinkt (don’t you just hate when you come upon a car and they tell you that you have just missed an awesome sighting by seconds :evil: :evil: ).

Heading back in the heat of the day, we had resigned ourselves to a quiet morning’s outing. However the Kgalagadi always seems to prove you wrong……….

Lunchtime at Cubitje Quap

As we arrived back at Cubitje Quap we were rewarded with the most amazing sighting of secretary birds all having a lunch time drink at the waterhole. We must have counted at least twenty birds at any one time, and as some would leave, others would arrive..


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I just love this sequence of a secretary bird and a gemsbok having a little dispute!!

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Once all the action was over we bounced back to camp for an afternoon snooze before heading out around a very quite Maries se Draai that evening.

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Well that was our quiet day of the trip. More to follow tomorrow……………..

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Into the Lion's Den KTP November 2010
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 8:34 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Thanks everyone for your comments and patience.... It is silly season and life has been pretty hectic :redface:
@ Caracal Wow only 7 more sleeps .. You lucky fish :mrgreen:

Monday 15 November… The Kgalagadi reveals herself!!!


We woke up to an overcast Nossob, and as usual we were at the gate at opening time, but as was soon to become the norm, the “gate opener” was absent…. I suppose 5.30 is pretty early. :)

Whilst we were waiting we were trying to decide which way to go… North?... South? North? South?..., we really didn’t know, until this really obnoxious woman arrived and started shouting the odds about the fact that the gate should be open already!!! She was going south, so Wannabe Nerd decided we were going north…… OK, I’m cool with that, so we went north. :|

We got just past Cubitje Quap.. (quickly becoming our favourite waterhole) when I saw this guy walking along the river bed. WOW was he impressive or what? :dance:

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He walked up to the waterhole, and spent a good few minutes quenching his thirst, before moving off to groom himself and to move off again in the direction from which he had come. The pics can tell the story!!


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After he had disappeared into the dunes, we carried on up to Polentswa again and found the rest of the trip to be very quiet. Coming back to Cubitje Quap we came upon these lapped faced and white backed vultures quenching their thirsts.


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We then headed back to camp to relax a bit in the midday heat.

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Into the Lion's Den KTP November 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:03 pm 
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Monday 15th November Continued

When we got back to camp we had a look at the sightings board outside the office and saw that we were not the only people to have seen lions that morning. Lions had been seen at Maries se gat. There had apparently been a pride of 8 lions including 4 cubs and two big males at the waterhole, and they had given the people who saw them a wonderful display.

We spent the afternoon in camp, just pottering about and went for a swim in the swimming pool, which was great as is was about 40 degrees.


At about 5pm we decided to go down to Marie’s to see what was happening down there. By now the weather had clouded over even more and thunderstorms were brewing. We went around Maries se Draai in the opposite direction to normal and very little was out and about.
As we got near to the parking area at Maries, I looked up and saw.........

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The lions from this morning....

We watched them for about 5 minutes before these guys decided it was now time to play truant and came down to the waterhole to play.


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It had started to rain which made taking photos quite tricky as the light was terrible.
We watched the cubs playing for about 30 minutes before mommy came looking for her babies.


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All this time we were alone with the lions, and once a few other cars arrived the rest of the family came down to play in the rain and drink in the riverbed. (I am sure fresh rain water tastes a whole lot better than water out of Marie’s se gat)

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They eventually moved along the riverbed, and when time started running out we had to leave them, and returned to camp very happy bunnies.

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Into the Lion's Den KTP November 2010
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 23, 2010 6:50 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Thanks for all the comments

Just a quick post before work to show you a video of some of the lions in the riverbed....( I can't do the video thing at work! :redface: )

River lions

and what we were woken up by the next morning :D

At Nossob hide

I will continue a bit later......

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Into the Lion's Den KTP November 2010
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:07 pm 
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Well now that the Christmas festivities are almost over, I can carry on a bit with this report.

Tuesday 16th November

It was at about 3am when I was woken by the far off sound of lions roaring. I really enjoy the sound and find it quite comforting in a way as I lie in the safety of our tent. The roaring slowly got louder and louder and eventually I decided to wake Wannabe Nerd as she really wanted to hear the Kalahari Lions roaring again. :D

Eventually they sounded REALLY close, so we got dressed and armed with a torch and cameras rushed off towards the hide to see if we could see anything. The generator was still off and it was overcast so it was pitch dark as we peered out of the hide, but we couldn’t see a thing...


(See my previous post for a video clip of the roaring)

Then I decided to go back to the entrance of the hide to see if I could spot anything along the road.

As I got to the wire mesh section of the walkway to the hide this lion roared. He must have been 20m away at most and I felt as if the whole world was vibrating.


Well, I nearly pooped in my best brooks. :big_eyes: :redface:

Talk about an adrenalin rush. I ran back into the hide, my heart was pumping and hands shaking. It was really loud. The lion then walked out from the bushes just alongside the hide, and walked right in front of the hide before moving off north. It all happened so quickly and as it was so dark, we didn’t get any pics, but the moment will stay with us for a long time.

Once all the excitement was over, we went back to the tent to get ready to go out on our morning game drive. As the lion had headed off north, we, and a few other cars decided to follow suite.

Well we saw nothing.... They had totally disappeared, so after a while we turned around and went down to Maries se Draai to see if last night’s lions were still around. They weren’t.

We did see a few birds along the way. (As I mentioned earlier it was overcast so the lighting was not the best. We tried!!)

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A swallow tailed bee eater

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One of the resident white backed vultures

As we were travelling around the loop I spotted a lone lioness sitting on the far side of the riverbed. We watched her for quite a while as she seemed pretty alert , but besides a half hearted attempt at chasing a wildebeest she didn’t do too much else.

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Back at Marie’s se Gat we came upon this beautiful Bataleur eagle which took off just as we arrived...

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That evening we took a quite drive up to Cubitje Quap, and were rewarded with some stunning scenery shots.

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The road to C Q

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We spent our last evening in Nossob enjoying a stunning sunset, a delicious braai, whilst listening to the sound of barking geckos as we sipped our drinks.

Nossob Barking Geckos

Another terrible day in Africa!! :D :dance:

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


Last edited by GavinW on Tue Dec 28, 2010 8:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Into the Lion's Den KTP November 2010
Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 1:43 pm 
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Wednesday 17th November Nossob to Urikaruus

We woke up to another cloudy day in Nossob, after some quite heavy downfalls of rain the previous evening, our last morning in Nossob. :(

As we were due to head off for the second part of our trip to Urikaruus we decided to a short morning drive (how surprising!!) before returning to Nossob, to break down the campsite and set off to the luxury of tented accommodation. :D

Sunrise at Nossob

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The first sighting we had just outside the gate was that of a Dikkop trying to eat a shongololo. Later we learned from Kgalagadi Guru, that this was a really unusual sighting as Dikkops (and other birds) seldom ate shongololos due to their high cyanide content.

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We went around Marie’s before travelling up to Cubitjie Quap for one last time.we managed to spot this bateleur eagle couple quite near the road,looking into the sun,

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As well as this spring hare, out long after his bed time :D

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And a snake eagle, before we headed back to camp to sort our lives out.

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I got this pic of a Fork Tailed Drongo before we broke up camp

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We eventually left Nossob at about 10am and headed down towards Dikbaardskolk.
Along the way we saw:


Loads of puddles in the road

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Some Gemsbok at Kaspersedraai

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This stunning kudu alongside the road

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And this sleepy lion at Cheleka
:P

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We had a short break before heading further south towards the lower dune road and Kij Kij....................

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Into the Lion's Den KTP November 2010
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 11:51 am 
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Thanks to everyone for the wonderful, and unexpected birthday wishes :D :redface: You lot rock :dance:

Wednesday 17 November continued..........


Shortly after leaving Dikbaardskolk we met up with KTF Hooked and her friend on their way up to Nossob. It was really nice to stop and chat to a fellow forumite and to catch up on each other’s sightings.
:D

It was really hot and very little was moving around.

Once on the lower dune road, we came across this little steenbok. We were really intrigued by the fact that once she had done her business, she covered it all up like a cat would! I presume that this is done in order to prevent detection by predators.

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Whilst we were watching the steenbok, I noticed this old bone lying on the dune. I think it makes for quite a cool picture!

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Once we were back in the Auob riverbed, we travelled north up to Urikaruus. Along the way, we spotted this tawny eagle

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Just south of Montrose we stopped at the martial eagle’s nest where we had seen a mating couple in May, and saw the resultant chick sitting in the nest.That was an especially precious sighting, but yet again the lighting was not the best for photography.

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We arrived at Urikaruus in the late afternoon and decided to unpack and stay in camp for the evening. That evening we experienced a heavy thunderstorm which at least cooled things down a bit, and cleared up in time for us to braai.

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_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Into the Lion's Den KTP November 2010
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:47 pm 
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Thursday 18 November: Urikaruus delivers!

Our first morning in Urikaruus saw us up bright and early and out of camp just after 5.30am. We decided to head north as we wanted to see if there was any action at the hyena den just north of Urikaruus.

We had just left camp and were crossing the riverbed as we headed up towards Mata Mata, when Debs shouted ... Stop...... lions.
:shock: :D

They were on my side of the car and I was obviously still half asleep as I had not even noticed them. :redface:

We battled to see what they were doing through the early morning dusk, but eventually saw that they were busy finishing off the remains of a wildebeest. There was a pride of 5 lions including three sub adult males and two older lionesses.

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We watched them mill around the remnants of the carcass for about half an hour after which they started moving off in a northerly direction. The one female was definitely on a mission and dragged the others along with her.

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What was really interesting was the fact that the one young male started mating with one of the older females, whilst still in the company of the rest of the pride. We thought that mating lions usually went off on their own. We wondered if it was the real thing (or just a sex education lesson)... The sound effects and behaviour looked pretty real to us.


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They carried on to the waterhole at Urikaruus, where they had a quick drink before heading further north, to eventually collapse in a pile under a tree. Set for the day.

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To be continued next year :twisted:


Happy New Year everyone!!

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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