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 Post subject: Scouter-How green was my valley - KTP Jan 2011
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:12 am 
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This trip report ( that IS actually a trip report this time :lol: ) starts on New Years day while I am sitting at the computer taking a quick squizz at the Arid Parks forum. Why am I reading the fourm when I have 2 lots of parents and a bunch of friends arriving for lunch any minute you might ask ..... well, let me explain...

Hello, my name is Gill and I am an addict - I am addicted to the SANParks forum :redface:

So, here I am sitting drooling onto my keyboard as I scroll through the posts....I have gotten even more addicted since returning from our first trip in a very loooong time (about 12 years to be exact) that the SO and took in early November last year and thanks to KG we can now get regular updates about everything that is happening in KTP which feeds the addiction even more I'm afraid .....

The conversation between me and the SO goes something like this...

SO " the folks should be here soon, its nearly 12..."
Me " hmmmmmm......whopeee.....oh look, Jan says the Kgalagadi has had LOTS OF RAIN in the past week and its looking really nice and green..."
SO " hhrrumph"
Me " it must be sooooooo beautiful now....I'd love to see it all green wouldn't you..... it was so dry when we were there...."
DEATHLY SILENCE......
Me" oh sweet, Jannie says the springboks have got babies and the wildebeest have got babies too....I'd LOVE to see babies...."
SO " where's the meat for the braai?"
Me " on the stove in the bakkie where it ALWAYS is ( big sigh).... it must be so lovely....I wonder what it looks like all green ...with BABIES....we've never been to a park in the summmer so we could see the babies....why do we always go in the winter???...."
SO " is this all the meat ?"
Me " YES DEAR ....gentle sighs and moans eminating from my general direction as well as mopping sounds as I get rid of the drool on the keyboard....
SO " are you sure?"
Me " about the meat or the park being all green with all the babies , YES that's all the meat ..... snivel snivel sigh "
SO " ok if you want to go so badly why don't you check and see if you can get in and take the kids for a week and I'll stay here with the animals..."
Me " WHAT !!!! Are you sure ??? Seriously ??? Now ??? REALLY ?? OH WOW !!!!!"
SO " just book the bl**dy thing and GO....." Are you sure this is all the meat ?"

So, the rest of the day is spent hurtling around trying to feed and entertain the family and friends while all the time my mind is on this unexpected present of a trip to KTP and sneeking onto the computer trying to find out what's available at such sort notice....

Me, thrusting bits of paper under the SO and kids noses while trying to make the salads and the bread and the potato bake and get everyone fed and watered.... " so we can get a 3 bed in Nossob for 2 nights next week but I think that's a bit too close to Bron going back to varisty but if we go this week then we can only get a 2 bed cottage so maybe we must book a campsite for Jon as well but Twee Rivieren has cottages for the next 2 weeks so maybe we should just stay there for the whole week but I really want to go to Nossob and Mata Mata is fully booked so we can't go there and how hot do you think its going to be and what are we going to braai every night and maybe we should just camp but then it'll be too hot and we have to take the big tent ...and ....and ....and ..." and driving everyone totally INSANE..... :twisted:

Eventually get rid of all the ( happy, surprisingly enough) friends and family and sit down and BOOK - by 10 that night we are confirmed and have reservations at Twee Rivieren for 3 nights starting on the Thursday the 6th ( in 5 days time!!) then 2 nights at Nossob ( Sun and Mon) and a final night on the Tuesday back at TR...The next few days are spent rushing around like a Tasmanian devil leaving a path of utter chaos and destrucion behind me as I try and make lists, pack, go shopping, sort out animal food for 3 dogs, 3 cats, a horse and other sundries like peacocks and geese and squirrels ( the SO does NOT do shopping !!!!) Also, just to add to the confusion, we decide to leave on the Wednesday and sleep over in Brandvlei which is conveniently halfway for us Kaapies so now it all has to be done Tuesday evening!!!! Aaaaarg.......

Also, we have to fit in a trip to the 2nd hand bookshop in Tokai as the last time we went I only took books for the guys but after seeing Mary in the shop in Mata Mata devouring the Twilight book ( it was my daughter's OK !!!!) that I chucked in at the last minute only 3 days after I gave it Jannie, I realised how starved the ladies in the park are of reading material ( and there are a lot of ladies who work there too and wives and SO's ) so this trip was for them - came home with lots of lovely books I hoped they'd enjoy....

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Wednesday morning dawns HOT and sunny.....we pack the car, get the padkos ready and are off by just after 9...............

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 Post subject: Re: How green was my valley - KTP Jan 2011
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:11 am 
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Welcome vgstephens :thumbs_up: - I know you guys are going soon :mrgreen: - always nice to read other TR's before you go - I know I devoured everything I could get my hands on before the SO and I went in Nov and it made it so exciting I could hardly wait ( in the 2 weeks between booking and actually going, that is...it was another spur-of-the-moment trip !)


We didn't get very far on our our journey before we decided to keep the padkos for a bit later and stop off at the Spur in Picketburg for brunch - our favourite stop whenever we drive that piece of road (in any direction :lol: )....while munching on burgers ( at 10.30 in the morning :whistle: ) we decide that we might want to drive a bit further today so sms the SO and ask him to go on his computer at work and find us somewhere nice and cheap to stay in Keimoes area, just in case...

After swopping out drivers and giving my daughter a bit of heart failure by making her drive up Vanrhyns Pass (I think she did it with her eyes closed most of the time)
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we cruised along till we got to Brandvlei - took one look at its grimy grotty fly-ridden petrol station and the dry dustbowl of the veld surrounding it and decided that hey, we weren't really tired and maybe we should push on to Keimoes after all .... But where to stay as the SO hadn't gotten back to us yet - 4 hours later....surely it can't be THAT hard to find somewhere to stay ??

Phone the SO who is supposed to be at work - turns out he is actually sitting on his tushie at NEWLANDS watching the cricket - and ag shame, no, he couldn't find anywhere "nice" (read CHEAP!!!) to stay in Keimoes so why don't we just drive there and try and find something once we get there !!!!!!! SERIOUSLY ?????? How long have I been married to him (27 years actually) and he STILL doesn't know I need things cut-and-dried !!!

Furious mutterings from me (I am NOT THAT spontaneous) and under-my- breath incantations of curses on his bl**dy cricket match ( he was supposed to FIND us something - that's what SO's DO, not bu**er off to to watch the cricket).......my daughter comes to the rescue by whipping out her Mac and her 3G stick thingy she popped in at the last minute and 10 minutes (and 5 dead flies - swotted with a rolled-up magazine) later we have somewhere to stay - right on the banks of the Orange river and @ only R650 for the 3 of us it was CHEAP as well......( if anyone wants to know more please PM me and I will give you details - wish I could post some photos of it, too wonderful but ... :rtm: ho hum ) .... Lovely place, super owners and very cute Jack Russell's too... Got there about 6 so had a lovely restful evening, ate the padkos we were going to have when the Spur enticed us in and had an early night, ready for a sparrows f*art early start the next morning.

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Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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 Post subject: Re: How green was my valley - KTP Jan 2011
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:12 pm 
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So the plan was for an early start - not too early according to the kids :tongue: - when we woke up, say about 6 or 6.30 ish would suit them - and no amount of begging or pleading for a " lets go to bed at 8 then we can be up at 4 " start would budge them on this....ok, they were going to be up early every day for the next week anyway.....

I, of course woke a little after 5 .... lay in bed making loud snoring noises - nope, kids still asleep....
Let's try the throat clearing and hope that makes them stir...... hmmmmmm. cough cough (for good measure )....Silence.....
Ok, lets go to the loo and maybe the flushing will disturb them and have a quick shower for while I'm there - ..... nada, they are still sleeping peacefully...
Go to kitchen, fill kettle very noisily, whistle while waiting for kettle to boil so I can have coffee..... zzzzzzzzzzzzz
Shame, they probably need the sleep - I'll go quietly outside and take a few photos of the sun rising over the Orange river - take 2 steps outside ..
" Where are you going ? " :lol:

Rush inside to make more coffee, throw the bags in the car and we are off. I am so excited I am bouncing around behind the steering wheel, hardly able to contain my excitement.

Quick stop in Upington for a Steers burger and another coffee and a passing snap of one of my most favourite road signs........

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and then we are on the last stretch...... Home James, and don't spare the horses...........

Thankfully no goats or donks on the road this time (last Novemeber we were literally doing 40 k's an hour between all the herds of goats meandering down the middle of the road :slap: ) ...

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(And YES, it does look like we are driving on the RHS of the road because we were, not because we were doff or becasue we were "uitlanders" but because the bl**dy goats would NOT move out the way....)

So, after smiling and waving maniacally at every car that passed us ( not surprisingly the locals all waved and smiled back and the "foreigners" just snarled at us - probably because they were a tad upset about having to leave the gorgeous park while we were so obviously on our way there :lol: ) we came upon this sight which sent me bouncing all over the car again - luckily I was holding on to the steering wheel or I might have bounced straight out of the open window, my heart was beating so hard ....

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Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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 Post subject: Re: How green was my valley - KTP Jan 2011
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 9:12 pm 
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We crept slowly closer and closer ......

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until I slammed on the brakes, opened the car door camera in hand and nearly face-planted onto the tarmac parking area - in my haste to get out I had got my foot caught in the strap of my camerabag that had been nestled lovingly on my lap and had landed with a plonk on the floor of the car when I stopped so abruptly ....thank heavens we were the only ones booking in at that stage and the car park was mercifully empty otherwise some people would have had a very entertaining start to THEIR trip :redface:

We all trotted eagerly up the ramp and into the blissful coolth of reception - checked in and got the kids Wildcards (we STILL haven't got our new ones that we renewed at the end of Oct just by the way :huh: ) - kids very impressed by reception building - the last time they had been to KTP they were knee high to a grasshopper ....

We were too early to get our keys ( 9.30 to be precise) so they told us to bu**er off ( in the nicest way) and to come back at a more respectable time. No problem - we were all SO ampted to actually get INTO the park and start seeing incredible stuff that we gladly obliged...

Now, for the past hour the specualtion in the car had been rife about what the first piece of fauna was that we were going to see once in the park - my son suggested Gemsbok, I thought maybe some springbok and my daughter (bless her optimism) was convined it would be lion :pray: - this may have been partly my fault I fear as I had bombarded the kids with endless stories and photos of all the stunning lions we saw in November and had reminded her of Jannie's story as we past through the gate of the camp and into the park proper, that THIS was the gate that the lions had been lying against 2 days before we arrived and how the guy who opens the gate had to climb into a guest's car to shoo them off into the dune before they could open the gate etc etc - so ja, OK, it WAS probably my fault :roll:

We drive out through the gate, eyes scanning the bush already and I drive up to Two Rivers waterhole just outside the gate - this was where we had seen our one and only brownie of the last trip - as I reminded them yet AGAIN .......and we saw our first wildlife ......................

2 bl**dy Egyptian Geese mooching around in the water !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :doh:

We couldn't believe it - after the hours of speculation and barely contained excitement about our first KTP wildlife, it's some rotten geese - ok, I know they are lovely and I do have a soft spot for them but HONESTLY..... we have 3 wild pairs at home that drive us crazy honking on our roof all day long and stealing the horses food and sleeping in the paddock - so yes, this pair was definately NOT a thrill...

Oddly enough, the kids thought this was supremely funny and we drove off still laughing slightly hysterically about our foray into the proper park..... and forgot to take a photo in all the hilarity of the moment....

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Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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 Post subject: Re: How green was my valley - KTP Jan 2011
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 2:23 pm 
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This is to appease the Caracal - even though they are one of the smaller predators, they can get quite aggressive sometimes, especially in this heat, and I don't want to get snarled at for not producing something to take her mind off the last part of a loooong journey :lol: :twisted: :lol:

Still having the giggles at our first sighting, we trundled slowly up the road to Samevloeiing - when we got there I was amazed - there were pools of water everywhere ......

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But no animals.... :cry:

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No wait, what's that mooching around in the puddles underneath that tree faaaar away .....

Another pair of bl**dy Egyptian geese, thats what !!! :evil: SERIOUSLY ????

Oh well, we want to go up to Leeudril anyway (why I am not sure as we have yet to see ANYTHING there except for a teeny striped mouse hiding in the shade underneath our car and a lonely jackal on our last trip) so on we go, eyes peeled for anything other than an Egyptian Goose ...

It was very quiet, except for this wildebeest playing tiptoe through the "tulips" but I was thrilled to see how green it was....

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After a few minutes of " STOP - oh sorry, it's a rock / bunch of tall dry grass / old tree stump" (we hadn't got our spotting eyes on yet) we rounded a bend in the road to finally see some life..

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My daughter got this lovely shot - the buggers don't pose this nicely for me - BUT in my defence, she was on the right side of the car AND she has a nicer camera than me :mrgreen:

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Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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 Post subject: Re: How green was my valley - KTP Jan 2011
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:35 am 
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Moose :thumbs_up: thanks - sorry, no goose photos's - we were too gobsmacked to take any :tongue:

Thanks so much tiggercat :lol: - she did take some stunning photos on this trip

Lion queen - no, really, we actually DO love the geese as we have so many at home :tongue: - it was just so bizarre for them to be our first 2 sightings - I love their gorgeous colours when the sun catches them and the green and whilte patches on their wings ( do NOT like the honking at 5 o'clock in the morning though :twisted: )



Puttered slowly up to Leeuwdril - the animals were scarce, only the odd ostrich or lonely wildebeest wandering around until we came round a bend and startled an enormous tawny eagle who was sitting next to the road - no photos unfortunately as it was so quick but stunning to see one so close...

Just past the Rooiputs turnoff the suricates were out !!!!! I was thrilled, even though they were quite far away as I had been desperate to see some last trip but the little blighters had been hiding the whole time. Nasty photos sorry,very zoomed in and then cropped - they were rather a long way off and although Taz ( the daughter) has a decent camera she does NOT have a bazooka lens either( :wall: ) so this is the best we could get ...

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This one reminded me of that hideous meerkat that Vodacom used in its ad a few years ago - you know, the one that did the strip-tease out of its fur while singing something about being a "sexy thing" and believing in miracles :big_eyes: and unfortunately that kinda ruined the sighting for me as that was all I could think about :whistle:

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Leeudril was like the grave - not a creature was stirring (not even a mouse) so we sat there for a bit, munching on biltong and hoping that something might get thirsty, but no such luck so we turned around and drove back to try and get our key from reception as we were slowly starting to melt. Our only special sighting on the trip back was this "thing" leaping around on the side of the road and dashing backwards and forwards like a lunatic - eventually when it slowed down a bit we could see it was a teeny baby springbokkie - but all alone and going bossies.... where was its mummy ??

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We ground to a halt and eventually spotted her loafing around under a tree about 100m away on the other side of the road :big_eyes: in the SHADE, chatting to her friends, while her child was trying out its new legs in the boiling hot sun....after a few minutes of us ooohing and aaahing out the window mama obviously thought we had designs on her baby and came trotting out from the shade to rescue it, along with papa. The baby was totally oblivous to the fact that it was alone and was full of the joys of spring (or actually mid-summer). Once it got its parents in its sights however it realised that maybe cavorting around alone was not such a good idea ( you know, with all those masses of bl**dy cheetahs and leopards that hang around between Saamevloeiing and Leeuwdril :twisted: ) and went rushing off to meet them. The parents promptly whisked the brat off to the shade to recuperate from having so much fun....

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And we, to our dismay, realised that we would get short shift if we went back to reception too early, even if we were melting so we decided to take a quick drive up to Houmoed - where we had seen 2 different lots of lion on our last trip......

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 Post subject: Re: How green was my valley - KTP Jan 2011
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:49 am 
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The dune road for once was rather interesting ( for the first and only time :tongue: ) - we saw a jackal and a lonely gemsbok and even an ostrich or 2. It was thrilling to come over that last rise and float down the hill with the stunning views of the Auob on your right - it was pretty dry still but there was a big pool of water in the riverbed from the previous few days of rain.

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Geez, was it quiet................... no bird or animal was moving in the heat - plus it was 11.30, not a good time for spotting animals as they were all wisely zzzzzzing under a shady tree somewhere faaaaar away - they must have been hiding as they weren't even under the trees in the riverbed :(

Houmoed was under water though....

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We drove up the lookout and found the remains of some poor bokkie who expired from the heat or in all probability had become someones dinner or breakfast...

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On to Monro where these secretaries were having a quick cool off during their lunch break :lol:

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Eventually, just past Monro, some form of life ...these gemsbok were up and about - the older one giving the smaller one a quick lecture by the look of it :D

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By now time was marching on and we decided to turn around and go get our key, unpack the car and have a nice rest (the kids were getting crabby through heat, lack of sleep and lack of food). Just before the start of the dune road my daughter took this - one of my favourite shots of the entire trip ..... ( I made it a bit bigger cause I LOVE it :dance: )

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Back at reception we got our key - no 8 - the place smelt a bit funky - only later that night did we realise why :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: How green was my valley - KTP Jan 2011
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 5:10 pm 
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Elsa, thanks for coming on board - hope you enjoy the journey :thumbs_up:

Penfold - noooooooooo :big_eyes: I have an overactive imagination, now thanks to you I dunno if I'm going to want to sleep in those cottages ever again :lol: Thank goodness it wasn't THAT kind of funky :roll:

We were not terribly enamoured with chalet no 8 - it was clean enough but I still had some more explaining to do to the kids ....you see, in November the SO and I had stayed in no 28, which for those of you who don't know, is new(ish) and modern, and is nice and spacious and has a lekker glass door onto the stoep thingy and all the beds are in the same openplan room ( so EVERYONE gets a share of the aircon :roll: ) and has a lovely new bathroom etc etc etc....so as you can imagine, they were rather disconcerted with this one that had an air of shabby gentility about it - and the son was rather peeved that he had to sleep in the kitchen without any aircon :tongue: ( WHY we couldn't book one of the newer chalets I don't understand as he would have been perfectly happy sleeping on the bed that is apparently only meant for kids :huh: - stoooopid :rtm: )

After unpacking and the kids having a quick rest ( funky smell not withstanding) we climbed back into the car for another quick drive up to Leeuwdril as we were meeting Jan and Vanessa and Stefan a bit later and I didn't want to be late for them ...

It was tortoise alley - never seen so many of them in one drive - we counted at least 11 different ones - big ones , small ones, ones in the bush, on the side of the road, IN the road which made us slam on brakes pretty sharply once in a while as the little ones look just like stones (of which there are many on KTP's roads :roll: )

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and this little blighter who decided that walking round a puddle what too much PT so he went THROUGH it - we held our breath as he disappeared totally under the water until he emerged dripping on the other side .........

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I think the top 3 are leopard tortoises but does anyone know what the aquatic one is - he doesn't look the same ??

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 Post subject: Re: How green was my valley - KTP Jan 2011
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 8:38 pm 
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Great TR Scouter! :clap: :clap:

Sadly, I think you're non-Leopard Tortoise is almost certainly a Leopard Tortoise. It looks very much like an Angulate Tortoise, but they don't occur anywhere close to KTP. This is probably a younger Leopard Tortoise.

And cool fact- Leopard Tortoises are the only tortoises that can swim. It's fun to see a photo of one swimming :thumbs_up:

Very curious about this funky smell...


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 Post subject: Re: How green was my valley - KTP Jan 2011
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:42 am 
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Apart from the tortoises, it was a pretty uneventful drive (and rather hot) ...We did come across our first red hartebeest that gave us quite a "skeef" look - the kids were thrilled as it was a first for them in KTP.....

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and also a pair of springbokkies having a bit of a domestic (perhaps they were siblings :roll: )

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and my first photo of a Namaqua dove - not great I know but at least it sat still long enough for me to take a picture (and I knew what it was - good hey Caracal 8) )

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I was so excited about seeing Jannie and Vanessa again and meeting Stefan for the first time. On our last trip Vanessa had 3 weeks to go...

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and now they had their gorgeous little boy...what an absolute cutie, 6 weeks old, pa se seun, as good as gold and Vanessa looking stunning not even 10 weeks later :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

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Jannie came bearing a piping hot bread that I had ordered from him earlier when I had phoned to say we had arrived - wow, if you want a treat, order one from Jannie - it was incredible......I'm ashamed to say there was very little left of it by the time they left that night :redface:

We had been sitting outside for the evening and had been extremely careful about shutting the door of the chalet behind us while we were trotting in and out all evening but to our horror, when we got ready for bed, the chalet was infested with goggas - big ones and small ones, flying ones and crawling ones..... we were very perplexed - how the hades had they gotten in - we had been SO careful?? All windows closed - check ....bathroom windows - check......front door - BINGO.....we discovered when we switched off all the lights inside the chalaet and put the outside light on that there was a dirty great gap under the bottom of the door - about 2 inches big in fact ....and on further inspection, another huge bl**dy chunk missing from the top of the door too- big enough to let in a zillion and one bugs............ did the door not fit properly at some stage so they just decided to take a flipping chainsaw to the thing ?????? It wasn't even straight, so it was obviously done by someone with a very eveil sense of humor ! I wondered if he was hiding in the bushes watching us run around frantically trying to kill bugs and smirking that his eveil plan had suceeded :twisted:

After a litereal use of Peaceful Sleep, we put out the lights and tried to get some sleep - it was not to be as the reason for the funky smell soon appeared ........... at least 4 bats started dive bombing us and feasting on all the delicious goggas that had invaded our bedroom . My son had 2 in his charming furnace of a kitchen-bedroom and we had 2 parents and a whole horde of bloody babies by the sound of the racket they kicked up as soon as the lights went off........

They spent the whole night screeching their little heads off while the parents flitted happily around our heads and pooping merrily on us.....suffice to say it was NOT a good night and the daughter was NOT amused as she seemed to get the brunt of the bat doo-doo......

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Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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 Post subject: Re: How green was my valley - KTP Jan 2011
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:40 am 
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So after a very disturbed night with very little sleep due to the bats, we dragged ourselves out of bed at the appointed hour in anticipation of the days drive up to Mata Mata ( and the scores of lions and cheetah that are seen there all the time, by everyone :whistle: ).... After a quick shower to get rid of the bat manure we fetched our permit and hit the road.....I did consider having a word with reception about the bat problem but they weren't open yet :slap:

A quick pit-stop at Samevloeiing yielded a nice herd of wildebeest with some cute calves ....

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and a lovely surprise meeting with wanderw and her family. After a lovely chat and another fleeting sighting and wave at another yellow ribbon (sorry we didn't stop to meet you whoever you were :redface: ) we were on our way over the dune road en route to Nirvana .....

Now before we left Caracal had warned me that there were days when they saw nothing........I didn't think she meant literally NOTHING :wall: .....this turned out to be one of the longest and most painful drives we had taken in the park ...... as I read in someone's trip report a while ago, it felt like the Rapture had come and left us behind......there were literally no animals .....anywhere..... not in the riverbed, not under the trees.....we thought maybe they were all lurking behind the ridges waiting for us to drive by and then they would come galloping down to the waterholes :hmz:

And the road was APPALLING - I'm ashamed to admit this but it was shocking....maybe it had been all the hordes of Christmas and New Year visitors or maybe the grader and tractor drivers had all got an extra long festive season but there honestly wasn't a 5 m stretch that wasn't corrugated like some old granny's ancient washboard - and it didn't matter what speed we tried to drive, nothing helped. ( And YES, we did deflate our tyres properly - I had insisted on checking and double checking)....The kids were less than thrilled....where were all the herds of springbokkies and wildebeest and gemsbok we had raved about ?? Where were the raptors, never mind the bl**dy lions :roll: Where was ANYTHING they could look at and preferably take a photo of ????

At long last some little critters decided we had been punished enough and posed long enough for a quick photo before dissapearing into their holes again

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We had passed the odd car with a smile and a wave - no-one stopped to tell us they had seen anything and at Kamqua we stopped for a quick pitstop - I was mooching back from the loo when this dear old gentleman came trotting eagerly towards me...my face lit up...here at LAST was some exciting news surely to be shared, a pride of lions a little way up the road, a cheetah on a kill, maybe even a leopard lurking in a tree....

"what's the road like to Twee Rivieren? Is is as bad as the road down from Mata Mata ...its absolutely DISGUSTING, they should be ashamed of themselves, ............ rant rant, grumble, moan, "......geez :big_eyes: ...."sorry oom, yes it's pretty bad down to TR too I'm afraid, sorry, gotta go, hope you see something nice along the way" ...... ( hotfoot it back to the car as fast as my little legs will carry me).....

When I tell you we did every loop along the way, past all the boreholes, through all the puddles and mud holes and over all the corrugations and the only exciting thing that happened was that I went over a particularly cr*ppy stretch of bumps and dongas and my son lurched around in the back of the car and his leg bumped against the door and smashed his Iphone screen, maybe you will understand....this was NOT a pleasant trip!!

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We can do no great things, only small things with great love. ~Mother Teresa

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


Last edited by Scouter on Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: How green was my valley - KTP Jan 2011
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:13 am 
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Thanks Lionspoon - heck, if we didn't laugh we'd have been in tears ( also, its a LOT funnier now its over - the kids still talk about that awful drive but now they also see the funny side of it :lol: )

And yes, those ground squirrels were adorable - they always cheer me up !!

We got really excited with this brief glimpse of a cape cobra in a weaver's nest but it disappeared so quickly we only got a quick snap of it....

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As we bounced and lurched our way further up the road, things started to look a little brighter - a car stopped on the opposite side with people hanging out the windows :dance: ....we stopped and looked....and looked.....till eventually we saw him lying under a tree - our first lion !! unfortunately, he wasn't a very stunning specimen of a black maned Kgalagadi lion I had been bragging about to the kids - didn't matter that he was just lyin' there :roll: - we pulled out the bino's and all had a good look....

"He's not moving at all - do you think he's dead ?"
"Nah, he can't be dead, he's just asleep..."
"Here, you have a look"
"Sh*t, his chest isn't moving at all.........maybe he IS dead"
"Let me look - nope, nothing...."
"oh cr*p - I hope he's not dead - our first lion and its a dead one !!!"
"Look at his mouth, its all skwiff - he probably can't eat so he's died there ......shame...."
" He's still not moving ....."
"Do you think he's really dead ?"

This went on for a while until after about 15 minutes and half a dozen cars slowing down, stopping for a quick check and driving on - a paw twitched :dance: - the kid with the bino's let out a yell of "He's ALIVE '" and with that we drove off in a flush of triumph at seeing our first "not-dead" lion. I was incredibly happy to see subsequent photos of him in a later TR, proving once and for all that this IS an amazing specimen and he's doing very well for himself, thank you very much....

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According to Caracal ( sorry :redface: ), the Kalahari will reveal itself to only those who seek with a true heart ....obviously our hearts weren't very true or maybe it was all the bad vibes floating around the car but we still saw practically nothing - the odd lonely gemsbok or wildebeest or springbok under the shade of a tree until another stopped car kindly pointed out some more lions for us. Unfortunately, this bunch were snoozing under a tree on the far side of the river - with the bino's we could just make out that yes, they were lions and there were 3 of them but they were so far away and so fast asleep we couldn't tell if they were male or female...

By the time we eventually staggered into Mata Mata we were all very grumpy and thirsty and HOT so after a very quick pitstop and a visit to the shop we were off again. The kids were not speaking to each other (or me) because of the whole Iphone incident so it was surprsingly restful :roll:

The area around the camp was beautiful and green and covered in those sweet little yellow flowers which I think are those damn devil's thorns in disguise...but still lovely none the less

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We drove in a stony silence until Craig Lockhart ( I think :redface: ) where we got SUPER excited at seeing TWO - yes TWO cars - parked in the little turning circle near the waterhole. As you well know, two cars parked in the Kgalagadi is definately a super-special sighting - in all probability one of the kitties - so we were all happy and the bad mood dissapered in a flash - cameras got readied, windows cracked open to full and we crept slowly up so as not to disturb................





THE 2 IDIOTS WHO WERE OUT OF THEIR CARS , MOOCHING AROUND AND HAVING A FAG !!!!! :sniper:

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RIGHT NEXT TO THE SIGN ON THE TREE SAYING "DO NOT LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE" !!!!!!
Our initail excitement turned to dissapointment that there weren't any kitties, to utter outrage at these twerps, to a kind of evil pleasure (don't judge me PLEASE :pray: ) so I plastered a big smile on my face and carefully positioned the car for optimal photography and snapped happily away at them, being very careful to take some closeup shots of the sign as well as their numberplates - they were not very happy with me, especially as my son was muttering rude things out the window like ..." what's WRONG with you people, cant' you READ" :rtm: so as they looked like rather large boere and I didn't want to get into an arguement with them I smiled manaically at them again, gave them a cheery wave, and drove off.........

A voice beside me says " well, we didn't see much but that certainly made up for it don't you think ...."
( the outcome of this little episode was a very happy Jannie when he downloaded the photos and 2 very unhappy men who subsequently got a MASSIVE fine )

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Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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 Post subject: Re: How green was my valley - KTP Jan 2011
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:32 pm 
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Feeling a heck of a lot more cheerful we continued our bumpy way back to TR - on the way another nice secretary bird..

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and then another car stopped next to a very large dead camelthorn tree just near Dertiende Boorgat - we paused and looked but couldn't see anything - probably birders we thought with a sigh (I can now admit this TO MY ETERNAL SHAME as I am now one of "you")......we sneaked slowly closer so as not to disturb whatever avian species was lurking in this massive old dead tree and smiled uncertainly at the occupants of the stopped car......

Luckily they were super nice folk and told us that there was a young leopard mooching around in and around the tree and if we were patient and looked really hard, maybe we would see it because it had just disappeared around the back of the tree - and with that they drove off and left us to it - wow, were we excited :big_eyes:

We hauled out the binocs and looked and looked but this tree was not going to reveal any of her secrets without a struggle - I inched the car forwards ...and we looked....I inched the car backwards...and still we looked......backwards and forwards, stop, reverse, U-turn, stop ....aaaaaaaaaaaaarg .......nothing !!!

We were honestly about to give up and were thinking the guys in the car had a very warped sense of humour when all of sudden there was movement in the tree and we saw this bounding up the branch ..... not a very good photo as it was incredibly harsh light but HEY, it was our very first LEOPARD :dance: ( and I'm not cropping this photo any more otherwise you will see what a cr*ppy photo it actually is and how out of focus :tongue: )

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It had hardly got up there when it changed its mind ( must have been a female :roll: ) and started climbing down again....

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and it then spent the next half an hour trying to find a comfortable spot in the tangle of all the branches on the ground - it was really hard to spot when it was lying down and the best we could get was this nasty pic of its little face and ears peeking out of the mess of branches

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We waited until another came along from the opposite direction and waved them down and passed on the sighting ( I hope it got up and moved for them otherwise they would have been mightily dissapointed with a very dark and gloomy view of a pair of ears under the tree)....

We were really happy with our leopard sighting and even though the rest of the journey back to TR didn't reveal much in the way of anything , I was thrilled to see this little guy rolling his dungball across the road - my first ever dungbeetle !! ( Obviously I have never been to Addo :roll: )

Image

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Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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 Post subject: Re: How green was my valley - KTP Jan 2011
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:49 pm 
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Lionspoon :lol: - I do know that feeling of wondering if the nice people were telling you complete porkers just for the fun of it :slap: We had an episode also in KTP where we watched a mother leopard and her cub walk along the side of the road and when the cub climbed into a huge sausage tree the mother disappeared off across the road. Now we had watched this all unfold (only car there) and we had seen where in the sausage tree the cub had settled down but do you think subsequent people who stopped to ask what we were looking at would believe us ?? In fact we got sworn at twice (in Afrikaans ) by 2 different lots of people because they thought we were lying :redface:

Moose - YES, we do need to plan - and YES, it WILL be epic :dance: and even more YES, how awful to have missed out on so much - makes you feel a bit sad when you think of those "quiet" days that were probably jam-packed full of awesome bird sightings that we just sailed past :redface: - never mind, I see I took a fair number of birdie shots this trip that I am managing to ID all by myself :dance:

29 days and counting - AWESOME !!

Micetta - hey, at least it wasn't another lion for you :roll: and also I like secretary birds - they always seem so superior and regal ....

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Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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 Post subject: Re: How green was my valley - KTP Jan 2011
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 9:23 pm 
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Ok, as Gavin said, enough chit-chat .....

The drive back was quite quiet but the mood in the car was blissful and contented - we had seen our first leopard (and 3 far-away lions and 1 not-dead lion) so we were happy. We did come across these lovely harties and a few other bits and bobs that were out and about - some springbok and a very far away Verreaux's eagle owl ( that one I do know :lol: )

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We went back to the bat-cave so the kids could have a rest - very exhausting being in the car for an 8 hour trip to Mata Mata and back :roll: and we demolished most of the divine raisin loaf that we had ordered from Jannie..... suitably fortified I decided that I would go and ask very nicely at reception if there was anything they could do about the colony living in no 8....geez, what a complete waste of 20 min of my life that I will never get back :wall: ....I was VERY nice and VERY sweet - explained that there really were a whole bunch of bats pooping on us and if it was at ALL possible, as I am an extremely allergic individual ( trees, grasses, cats, dogs, horses, pollen - you name it and all of which we have in abundance at our house) and my daughter is almost as allergic to furry things .....if there was ANYTHING else available, perhaps we might possibly be allowed to move to somewhere less bat-infested? Now I was really very sweet, and apologetic and asked very nicely ( and practically said pretty please with a cherry on top) and all I got was a blank stare .....I asked again (nicely) if they could possibly check to see if any chalets were unoccupied ???? Another blank stare, then some prodding and poking on the keyboard and a decisive " No, I'm sorry but ALL the chalets are fully booked, we can't do anything"...

Suitably chastised, I left with my tail between my legs and went back to the hell-hole to sulk :whistle:( and eat some more raisin bread with thick butter and honey which made me feel a tad better) . Luckily, after a short while the kids were raring to go and we decided on a quick drive up to Leeuwdril before meeting Jannie and Vanessa for a braai that evening..

We found a whole nursery of baby wildies

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and some Namaqua sandgrouse ( I think )

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and this stunning pair of jackals in the road

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and this lovely big wildebeest looking gorgeous in the late afternoon sunlight

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At Leeuwdril we met up with wanderw and her family again and had another nice chat - how lovely is it to bump into other 'mites while in the park ?? Except you always get a little :mrgreen: when you hear about all the stunning sightings they have had :whistle:

On the way home a really nice cloud formation to keep us happy - ( my son likes funky cloud formations so you will see a few of them)

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and with that we were back off to camp for supper, well pleased with our first full day in the park ....

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Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same ...


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