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 Post subject: Re: Lionspoon & Spots hunting the colours again (KTP April 2011)
Unread postPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 8:36 am 
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Travelling from Kieliekrankie to the Botswana side – Part III

Our first sighting for the late afternoon just after Gemsbokplein were more meerkats! :dance: Alas, they were running off and this is all I could get before they were gone.

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Further on at Batulama a herd of springbok. There were many more, but I couldn’t fit all of them into my lens.

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And then a somewhat foncused springbok, wearing the Christmas decoration a tad early.

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I wonder if it was the same one Touareg saw as well and if it was STILL wearing the tinsel or if it liked it so much that it had renewed it already again.

Later on another puffie. We hadn’t seen a single one on our last trip, and now this was our 4th snake in total. (Now for that cobra raiding a weaver nest. :rtm: )

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At Urikaruus Camp we took a quick stop to exchange goodies to and from Willem to Eric. Eric, of course, had to rub in the fact again that they had a cheetah kill just at the waterhole the day after we had left. :slap: He had already made sure we would know about this prompt when we arrived at KK as he mentioned it to Willem when radioing. What a nice guy. :twisted: :tongue:

We then drove on all the way to 13th Borehole where we saw Tobieo’s car. But he left upon our arrival, probably feeling disturbed :lol: and I never got the chance to talk to him again. The waterhole turned out to be empty (critters that is, there was PLENTY of water around) and we got on our way back to KK. En route a yet to be identified raptor (ideas anyone?)

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A greater kestrel in the riverbed:

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A Buddha meerkat, albeit a bit blurred:

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Some wild gone wildebeests, running around in circles:

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And last but not least the clouds before the thunderstorm:

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That evening we would manage to get our braai done exactly the minute the heavy rain set in. What a timing! It kept raining most of the night which had the positive side effect that the owls were less active and we were able to get a bit more sleep than the previous night. Although, the hyenas were whooping again and the owls did come at least for an occasional visit… :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Lionspoon & Spots hunting the colours again (KTP April 2011)
Unread postPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 3:10 pm 
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Travelling from to Kieliekrankie to the Nossob side

As the Easter holidayers had started crowding in the day before and we found KTP way too busy for our liking (For those who don’t know yet – I’m a teach and I have to stick to our holidays, so we couldn’t avoid this :slap: ) we decided to make our way to the Nossob side as chances were good that we would be on our own for quite some hours. Well, we didn’t take the peeps coming down from Rooiputs into consideration :roll: The other reason to go to the 'other' side was to look for Durbyl and her youngsters again.

Anyway, the day started off with a korhan in the middle of the road, still looking a bit chilly:

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And then we discovered some small raptors in the sky. They kept flying and flying and flying and took turns every time I had my camera pointed at them. :doh: Another futile enterprise, so I gave up on the idea of making Spots halt the car all the time and moved on to taking pictures out of the rolling car. Therefore I’m pretty happy with this shot:

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A steenbok awaited us right next to the road:

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Actually, I think it’s amazing. There is not much to see on a dune road, but steenboks, korhans, oryx and jackals are almost guaranteed. Talking about jackals – one came walking towards us and as far as I remember it was the first that didn’t take off as soon as we approached.

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Oh, and I think I mentioned oryx as well. Here you go:

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But I forgot to say ostrich :slap: They were around more often than not as well, even if they took a flight (or so to speak) when we arrived.

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Shortly after that another raptor which I would like to believe a gabar goshawk instead of the ubiquitous PCG:

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And then a looong stretch of nothing except for too many cars that we hadn’t counted on. Anyway, Spots waved down one of them to enquire where they had spent the night. That’s when we learned that they all came from Rooiputs. I had suspected that much, but obviously couldn’t be sure. On top of their whereabouts, we also learned about a brown hyena den exactly 1.1 km south of Melkvlei. Brown hyena??? :big_eyes: You sure could see us flying at 50 km/h to the place described to us. And indeed!!! There she was :dance: – already pretty sleepy, but a brownie is a brownie:

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It wasn’t even 9 am and my day was made after this splendid sighting! :mrgreen:

However, it wasn’t only the brownie that was a bit tired, the springbok youngster also took a nap in the riverbed:

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There were also plenty of raptors in the trees, but most of them too far off to attempt a decent shot. A black-chested snake-eagle finally did me the favour to occupy a tree a bit closer to the road:

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Another splendid ‘sighting’ we had on our Nossob river side tour was Gus Mills. When we were watching the brownie he actually passed us and I was pretty much :wall: about the missed opportunity to talk to him. Merry go lucky (again!) and he had turned around again as he was looking for Durbyl and her cubs just like us. We had a very pleasant chat where I was able to enquire a lot of things about what I wanted to know about all the collared cheetahs (see Collared cheetah update ). I could have gone on for ages, but – alas – a car appeared behind us and as the both of us were blocking the road we had to give way.

Without having detected Durbyl and her young ones again we returned to KK and were greeted by yet another steenbok coming to the waterhole without wanting to drink, just for some nibbles.

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I decided to take a roaring nap (haha, Elzet – here it is again) when the sky began to accumulate clouds and they actually started to rain. :shock:

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Last edited by Lionspoon on Fri May 27, 2011 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Lionspoon & Spots hunting the colours again (KTP April 2011)
Unread postPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 11:00 am 
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Afternoon / evening drive from KK

An hour later I woke up again to a still threatening sky:

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There was much of a debate between Spots and me whether to go out on an evening drive or not. The chances of seeing something seemed to be slim. But staying in the camp for the rest of the day didn’t strike us appealing either. So we set off – with KK’s laundry on the loading area of our beloved :twisted: Hilux.

On route a bedraggled looking PGC trying to get his plumage dried again after the rains.

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Next up a marico flycatcher, also contrary to all other times, sitting still for me to venture a shot:

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Then a tawny very close to the road – again not flying off, when we approached. :dance:

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And on the other side a jackal just departing a carcass he had been feeding on.

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The rest of the road remained quiet. Even Samevloeiing revealed nothing – again. :sniper:
But it did look gorgeous anyway.

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We also went looking for ‘our’ leopard again, but this turned out to be another fruitless exercise. So we dropped off the laundry at TR, plus the pics of the cheetahs for Gus as we had agreed upon in the morning, took some fuel and got back on our way to KK again. On our way I had to take a photo of the Aoub river being filled (compared to other times) with rain water that hadn’t trickled away into the ground yet.

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We also found more meerkats as well, but they were hiding out in the taaall grass:
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And our final sighting was a beautifully lit cloud packed sky:

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The clouds did what they promised – they did wring out the excessive water they were carrying…

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 Post subject: Re: Lionspoon & Spots hunting the colours again (KTP April 2011)
Unread postPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 4:05 pm 
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Travelling from to Kieliekrankie to Mata-Mata

This morning we had to leave KK to go to Mata-Mata. To be honest, I’m not all too fond of MM as a camp, but then again I’m not keen to stay at any of the main camps. I just love the solitude and peacefulness of the wilderness camps. But somewhen during the year after we had made our initial booking the possibility of an extra night popped up and MM was the only thing we could get. In fact, we could only get the most expensive :shock: of all accommodation in KTP – a riverside bungalow for 4 people. But who am I to complain. An additional night is an additional night and way better to spend it in KTP than somewhere in Upingtion or Jo’burg. :mrgreen:

It was a beautiful morning with the sun promising lovely light for the early photography. Still on the dune road a greater kestrel was eyeing the creepy crawlies:

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Followed by a wildebeest begging to have its photo taken against the ever so beautiful again blue sky:

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Other raptors were perching on top of the trees again – a welcome sight – but as usual too distant for good captures. The meerkats on the other hand were obliging and out and about again for us to enjoy their antics. Well, these three weren’t too active, at least not in terms of running around, but they took their respective job as a sentinel very serious:

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I was delighted!!! So many meerkat sightings in one trip (this was the 8th time we saw some). :dance:

There were lots of birds around as well. A crimson-breasted shrike gave me a hard time of getting hold of him and made sure there were always branches between him and my camera. :slap:

The swallow-tailed bee-eaters were just as obnoxious. There were three around and we waited and waited and waited for them to cuddle up to each other (it was still chilly after all :twisted:) but they were not in the mood of doing favours. So I had to be happy with this one:

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Just a few metres up the road, another oryx-in-the-dune-against-the-blue-sky offer came up and I was unable to decline:

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A martial tried to fool me by hiding in the outcrops that were of the same colour as the tawny’s plumage. Just a hint Mr. Tawny: If you don’t want to be seen, you need to face the rocks, not the road. Your beak is a dead giveaway. :tongue:

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The springboks were engaged in some rutting. Nothing serious as the kept changing sparring partners as often as others change clothes…

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At Kamqua a white-browed sparrow-weaver was busy building a home for himself and his family in the make.

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There was also a pygmy falcon watching from above:

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And yet another tawny patrolling in the air in the search of breakfast:

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There was also a BEF foraging, but it could hardly be seen in the grass. Shame… I’m still surprised though that it was still out and about as it was 9.30 already.

A bit more than half an hour later we approached Dertiende Boorgat. Guess, what we were looking for. And guess, what we never found. Not here not at the 14th. :doh: Yes, you knew it – Lisette. But we did meet some very friendly people who told us they had seen her on two consecutive days at the Veertiende Boorgat and actually witnessed Lisette killing a springbok the day before. Fat chance that she would turn up again today then…not… Anyway, they also told us they had heard about lions chasing a leopard up a tree just outside Nossob camp. Obviously they hadn’t seen the action itself but found the leopard in a very awkward position on a tiny branch high up in the tree. And according to the couple it sat there for hours on end. 6 to be exact. :shock: Those Nossob lions seem to be a bit :naughty:

Anyway, arriving at the Veertiende we found Lisette’s dinner and they seemed to be VERY agitated. I don’t think I ever saw springboks gathering so closely to each other and the patriarch made sure they all kept together.

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Of course, we sat with them for a while, but at some point we had to give up as there was an urgent call of nature. :roll: (I’m not going to tell you that somebody must have seen Lisette as the suspicious black magnet turned up on the sighting board at MM later that day…)

En route we only stopped briefly for this lanner:

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And a very vocal lilac-breasted roller:

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 Post subject: Re: Lionspoon & Spots hunting the colours again (KTP April 2011)
Unread postPosted: Sun May 29, 2011 8:39 pm 
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Afternoon drive from Mata-Mata

Having done the necessary at MM and not being able to check in yet, we wandered through the camp. I was looking for the owl, but it seemed to have packed its bags for the day as it was nowhere to be found.

However this one gave me some good giggles. Don’t think the starling was all too happy with the sign.

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Further there was a cricket dragging away a dead relative…

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…a crimson-breasted shrike marching up and down the fence…

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…a wattled starling calling for the family…

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…a squirrel trying to escape the by now scorching sun…

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…a yellow mongoose sniffing the ground…

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…and a familiar chat eyeing me.

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Then it was time to move into the home for our final night in the park. Spots asked me what I thought we would find at the waterhole. Having seen so many oryx at waterholes during the trip, I went with that answer. Spots opted for springbok. Well, I guess he was right.

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Seeing that it was our last full day in KTP we weren’t able to rest for long and were soon back on the road again. All waterholes – especially those of Lisette’s home were scanned meticulously as were the trees and bush around them but to no avail. That cat just didn’t feel like meeting us. :wall:

At Craig Lockhart the rain had produced natural waterholes and a familiar but yet out of place looking bird was resting next to one of the puddles. A hamerkop! I know they do occur in KTP, but it’s still a not too common sighting there:

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At the northern exit of the Veertiende we met up with some giraffes again.

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The bull was behaving very strangely, eyeing the verge of the road and looking as if he wasn’t sure whether it was safe to step down. We couldn’t have been any more wrong than that! He was actually preparing to drink from the puddle in the road!

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What a very :cool: sighting! We were standing right next to him and we had never been so close to a drinking giraffe. :mrgreen:
And here is his company:

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On our way back we bumped into a traffic jam. This time caused by lazy wildebeests that preferred to walk the road instead of through the long grass.

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When we got back to the camp we started packing in order to be able to leave at gate opening time the next morning. Later Spots lit the fire for our last braai and we enjoyed our evening with yet another gorgeous cloud packed sky

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and the sounds of nature Image wondering what the last hours in the park might have in store for us. :hmz: We hadn’t seen a single cat the last two days. Not even lions. :shock: Would we have to leave it that way?

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 Post subject: Re: Lionspoon & Spots hunting the colours again (KTP April 2011)
Unread postPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 1:53 pm 
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Travelling from to Mata-Mata to Twee Rivieren

We woke up to our last hours in the park. It was still dark, so I couldn’t make out the state of the sky yet. Overcast, as it turned out later. I wasn’t too happy with that as I knew it meant I would be cheated for the raptors. :(
By the time we left the camp (at 7am sharp, 3rd in line) the sun tried breaking up the clouds.

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A bit further down the road between Sitzas and Craig Lockhardt a BEF was foraging in the tall grass.

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Not such a bad start so far, methought. And it got even better when with our decision to leave out the Dalkeith loop as the giraffes we found were closer to the main road than the riverbed.

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The sun was still fighting the clouds, as you can see.

On the right hand side there were two giraffes fondly caressing each other with their long necks and their heads.

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Not even 10 minutes later the sun had pushed away most of the overcast morning and gave way to a beautiful wildebeest scene:

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At this point I told Spots that we were in for something good before we left. I’m not joking when I tell you that a lot of days I had a gut feeling whether something exciting was to come or not. Well, next up was another new tick on my bird list. :dance: A black-shouldered kite. I find them very interesting raptors with their intense eyes:

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Soon after we had entered the loop of the Dertiende Boorgat we had some speedsters overtaking us to our right. :shock: But they were four-legged ones. First I thought it was wildebeests gone wild and enjoying the moment, but watching the two of them it more and more resembled like one wildebeest trying to chase off the other. And they were quick! We traveled at about 30km/h at that point – not really slow either, but they easily passed us and soon were only hardly to be seen anymore. They only stopped when they had arrived close to the waterhole with the chaser turning on his heels and trotting back the way he had come.
By now we had also gladly shaken off the traffic (we had been travelling with about 6 cars being visible from back to front), when we bumped into 7 parked cars at the hyena den north of Uri. We were in a terrible photo position and couldn’t escape the masses either as someone was parked diagonally in the road. :doh: This is the best I could achieve from our slot:

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By the time the others were done with the shots, the hyena had dropped down flat again. :wall: Oh well. It wasn’t even 9 am and we had seen BEF, a new birdie, giraffes, wildebeests running and beautiful landscapes already. And there was still more to come. I was sure. But even if not, those sightings were enough already to keep me happy.

Further south we saw a tawny manning and controlling Kamqua waterhole, found our first steenbok on the Aoub side just after Rooibrak and a martial eagle against the grey turned deep blue sky opposite the little antelope. All of them were either too skittish (steenbok) or too far off (raptors) to get a good photo. I tried on the martial anyway – and normally I wouldn’t have posted it, but I’ll tell you soon why I did anyway:

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There were also some oryx fighting for who knows what – and this time they kept going.

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After watching and listening for a while – those horns slammed against each other do make quite some impressive noise! – we moved on. But we didn’t get far when the last of a three car convoy waved us down to asked whether we had seen the cheetah in the tree just 500 meters up the road where we were coming from. Say what??? (Sorry, Elzet, had to borrow this here.) Cheetah in tree and we missed it??? :sniper: :wall: :slap: :redface: :doh: Never have seen a cheetah really in a tree, and it must be in one. If it had been on a log, we surely wouldn’t have missed it, or would we?
Anyway, Spots turned the car in no time (with all the turns we did – he never even once touch the verge of the road :clap: ) and off we went trailing the convoy to find the cheetah. 500 meters were gone…and…nothing…600 meters…still nothing…700 meters…Where is that bl**dy cheetah??? 800 meters…nada. Spots started to fear that it was gone already, but the cars on front of us were still scanning and I reminded Spots about the accurate :tongue: distant declaration at a wild dog sighting in KNP where 2 k’s turned into 5… After another 100 metres without having found the cheetah I started doubting. Half jokingly, half serious I said to Spots that this probably was a sly stunt. Most likely it wasn’t a cheetah at all, but a leopard anyway. :twisted:

tbc :huh:

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 Post subject: Re: Lionspoon & Spots hunting the colours again (KTP April 2011)
Unread postPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 11:30 am 
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Travelling from to Mata-Mata to Twee Rivieren - Part II

Well, it was the leopard!!! :big_eyes: :dance: :mrgreen:


It walked in the Aoub riverbed - just opposite the tree where I had desperately tried to get a decent shot of that martial. :twisted: (There you go, Micetta!)

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Moving south into our direction (Remember, we were the last car in line and the others had secured the prime spots, which was fair enough, because we wouldn’t have known anything about it without them.) for a better view. Spots and all others reversed accordingly.

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This one was rather active and it was a constant gamble of seeing or losing the critter. At some point it disappeared in the grass and behind a tree and I thought it was gone, but up on the tree it went having caught on the run some midmorning snack with a longish tail.

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After a while it moved even further up in the tree and looked pretty much as if the show was over (Luckily, we had to get going anyway and would probably have stuck around a bit longer, maybe even too long).

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Micetta wrote:
Touareg, you are spoilt rotten Some people don’t see a leopard in all their life and you expect one to pop up the last day you are in KTP
As soon as I read this comment in Touareg’s TR I knew I had to borrow it… :cool: You can very much expect a leopard to show up on the very last day in KTP, Micetta. :twisted:

On our way down we stopped every car for the next 8 km or so to tell them about the leopard in the tree near Rooibrak. Gosh, you should have seen all the happy faces! At Auchterlonie we even managed to empty the whole picnic site of at least 15 people when we mentioned the leopard. And that is pretty far away from Rooibrak! Peeps must have been desperate to see at least something that morning because everyone coming from the TR direction had seen sod all during the morning. One of the cars was occupied with the people who had been with Gus Mills the other day. They told us Gus had found Durbyl, but only with 3 instead of 4 cubs. That had been on the 23rd April. The same day that VVV and Mads had that amazing encounter with all 5 of them in the Gunong area. So, I still ponder – did Gus see them before or after that? If before, it’ll mean one of the cubs had gone a bit astray, if afterwards it can mean anything. But some of the notion I don’t really like… :?

Well, we took time to shoot this strange posing oryx:

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And for yet another skittish steenbok on the dune road towards Samevloeiing:

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I had hoped for this little one to make the last sighting in the park, but a springbok had to ruin it just before TR. :twisted: As I was pouting that about that I wasn’t able to take a photo of it though. :twisted:

On our way out we needed to get some fuel and inflate the tyres again. So I decided to get a cold drink from the shop and glance at the sighting board. While I was doing the latter I saw a familiar face walking by close to me. It was Jan! :D After having chased him on two other days without success it was a great pleasure to meet him just before we had to leave. Because of that our chat was rather brief, but there is always hope for a longer talk when we get back in October. :thumbs_up: We left KTP with a feeling of elation, talking about yet another leopard sighting just before we had to hit the road towards Upington again. :dance:

That was that! But we’ll be back in October this year already again (Yes, we do feel VERY privileged…) and go hunting the colours as well as all those elusive critters again. :dance:

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Last edited by Lionspoon on Tue May 31, 2011 11:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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