Day 10 Grootkolk to Gharagab
No visitors during the night
(or I slept while they were here …). Getting up early this morning (6:00) was rather challenging as it was nippy (later saw car temperature gauge said 6°C). I quickly packed the car, made coffee, collected my permit and said my goodbyes to Franco. I had a wonderful 4 days here in Grootkolk and enjoyed my daily chats with Franco. Goodbye Grootkolk, until next time …
Will I be in time to see my Lioness and cubs at Geinab? Will she be there this morning? It was with great anticipation that I approached the waterhole. From a distance I could see some BWB and the large herd of Springbuck close to the waterhole.
This can only mean one thing, no Lioness. I parked and really scanned the area from which she normally approached. I checked the road for fresh tracks but could only find some prints of the day before.
Unfortunately I had to say my goodbye to her in her absence. All the best with raising your 2 (remaining??) cubs.
The Lioness at the BWB kill either moved the carcass herself (drag marks in the road) or the scavengers got hold of it. There were such a lot of different spoor that it was difficult to tell. I did find this lion dung with a variety insect visiting.
So far no Lion today! Will it remain this way? At last I found a semi decent SBJ, although far off.
In the distance I noticed a large herd of Eland walking towards me, parallel to the road. I know they are VERY skittish so found a spot with, what I hoped, was a clear line of sight, turned off the car and waited. It worked and I managed to take some nice photos. It was amazing the number of calves that were with the herd, a very productive year in Kgalagadi.
Once they realised I was there......
This RHB must feel very akward
I moved on to the UE waterhole for my daily dose of finger exercise in improving my BIF of the NSG.
While I was just sitting there staring at the waterhole (which by the way, for those who do not know, is quite close to the road) Two Lanner Falcons made a quick dive past for an opportunistic breakfast. It was amazing, the speed and the woosh sound their wings made in diving past, one after the other.
This male Shaft Tailed Whydah came for a quick drink
I eventually decided that it is time to go to Gharagab and unpack for the last time this trip (in KTP).
The two spoor track was amazing with the grass being very tall after all the good rains.
Sightings on these tracks are normally few and far between but the landscape truly makes up for this. Also being alone, I often just stop, turn off the car and listen to the silence, WOW.
I found this abandoned simplex complex
and the lodgings of the in-laws.
Gharagab waterhole with all the tsammas,
And a pair of Steenbuck.
Arriving at camp I was met by Oliver, who I met when I was in Grootkolk during a previous visit (Eric the almost permanent attendant is off and will be arriving tomorrow). There was a chill wind blowing right into the face of the cabins. Oliver informed me that hut no. 1 is mine and very eagerly enquired about the magazines that “he was told I am bringing”. These guys are so appreciative of whatever magazines or books you bring them (especially Afrikaans and outdoor living although they all said they also enjoy English magazines as well).
I drove the short way to my cabin and to my shock my neighbour was showering in my cabin! Obviously I was not happy, especially by his excuse, that the water in his cabin is not ok. Hell! Did he report this to Oliver? NO! He just wanted to shower at the same time as his travel companion and conveniently decided to use the facilities next door …. (or that is what I think).
On arrival Oliver told me that the Lions were seen on a dune on the other side of the waterhole in front of camp early this morning. Later the kind gentleman from chalet 3 came over and showed me the Lions. They were still there, just moved to stay in the sun.
The view from the cabins is just spectacular.
I later went for a drive to the Dankbaar waterhole, only 4 km away.
Just as I stopped next to the waterhole 3 SPCG were flying past making a hell of a noise. I noticed the one had something in its claw and the other 2 were trying to make him share. They unfortunately werenever in a position to photograph but was still very funny.
At the waterhole many different birds were enjoying themselves by drinking or taking a quick bath
Back at camp it was now really getting cold so I decided against watching the sun set from the lookout platform and started the fire for my braai. While I was turning my steak this SBJ asked for it.
Obviously I did not oblige (I noticed in the visitors book a lady, who visited for 8 days in December asked the visitors to feed her cute jackal that came by every night for his leftover from the braai…. How ignorant can you be?)!!
It is now after dinner and it feels as if the cold breeze has died down a bit (or is it my happy feeling as a result of a tasty steak in my belly?) I wonder if the Lions will be visiting tonight. I hope at least they give us some spectacular roars.
The breeze was only quiet for about 15 minutes and then it picked up speed and it became freezing cold. Luckily the shower was nice and hot but then the cabin is so cold. I have earlier closed all the flaps but they obviously do not seal 100%, but this is still better than being cosy in Gauteng …. I eventually ended up with the duvet and both other blankets over me, that was really cosy and warm enough.