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 Post subject: Salva Karoo,Camdeboo,Addo Elephant and Table Mountain June11
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:13 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Ok, so it ain’t Kruger or Kgalagadi but trust me…spending some time on a sunny morning watching the “plains” below you from Zuurkop lookout in Addo after the park enjoyed good rains is a treat, especially if you have the place to yourself . Add to that the great sighting of a herd of eland making their way through the open grass spaces and you’ll enjoy some magical moments.

Waterhole directly below Zuurkop

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Magical skies

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The way up to Carol’s Rest

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Eland (and Burchell’s Zebra…do you see them?)

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More to follow…

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 Post subject: Re: Karoo, Camdeboo, Addo Elephant and Table Mountain
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:52 am 
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Thanks a lot every one for you nice words!

ligt55: the weather? Well, we can't complain really. There were a few grey days, yes but we have been able to do and see everything we wanted to do and see. And on top of that we enjoyed some wonderful days along the garden route, R62. Yes we even enjoyed a sunny day exploring the Cape Peninsula.

Jazil: you say "this time". Good woman!!!! You know there is gonna be quite a few next times, don't you? :wink: I hope next time will bring us back to the eastern side of the country and who knows you own little tiny country. And if we would stick to the west I promise to book a flight earlier than 45 hours before our departure so that you can arrange to come and see us :lol:

To all the ones longing for Addo: it has been the third time for me and I must admit...the place is starting to get under my skin. The southern section and the southern access road in the main game section give the place a wilder feel imho. Because of the season and the weather (I guess) the place was also very calm this time. On our first morning drive we saw the first other car only after about two hours, I kid you not. Even in KTP that would be an achievement. Short, I really understand why you are longing for Addo...

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 Post subject: Re: Karoo, Camdeboo, Addo Elephant and Table Mountain
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 11:24 am 
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Before I show you some critters we encountered, I want to take you folks to another viewpoint. We thouroughly enjoyed Zuurkop but there was another place from where the vistas were unforgettable...the lookout over Graaff Reinet on the road to the Valley of Desolation, a few 100 meters before you actually get to the parking lot for that Valley of Desolation.

Look for yourself

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Actually, we only arrived around 16h45 at the gate of Camdeboo NP – Valley of Desolation section. The (very friendly) guy at the gate told us we could stay out untill 18h30 and that we would have plenty of time to enjoy the views.

Because we were so late, we were the last ones to enter that day and just before we got to that viewpoint I was showing you pictures from, we met two other cars coming down and that was it. We had the whole place to ourselves…so very special! Those views and the immense silence only broken from time to time by the calls of baboons…this was the moment when we congratulated ourselves with the very late decision of going back to SA once more.

Oh yes, there was another extra bonus for us. Because we could stay till 18h30 the place was getting dark when driving down the pass, also because the sun sets behind the mountains and dark clouthes were coming in at high speed. We would curse those clouds half a day later but now they were darkening the place so fast that I could take the following picture.

“Graaff Reinet by night”

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animals with trunks coming up...

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 Post subject: Re: Karoo, Camdeboo, Addo Elephant and Table Mountain
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 7:10 pm 
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Micetta, Pumbaa, PetraJ: thanks for appreciating pictures without animals :lol:

Finally some critters. As promised…the trunked ones!

In my first post you could see how green the parks is (was). This of course can only mean one thing: it had seriously rained the days before. We had be warned for the occasional “sprinkle”, however we experienced some SERIOUS showers. Not that we minded I must say. I would mind such a climate in an expensive beach resort on, say, Zanzibar but in a game park it’s “greening up” and refreshing things (land, plant, man and beast). Result: pictures of giants in a lush environment. And I also think rain is a special background for a legendary animal like our beloved elephant.

In the rain

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After the rain.

We saw this bloke not too far from the main gate. An emerging tusker? Or would he be considered a tusker already to Addo norms? I also wonder if he’s not the same elephant as the one in the first picture of this post. Different sighting on different days but merely two KM difference between the two spots.

As you can see here, he was just as calm as he was enormous and obviously didn’t mind our presence. Hence close-up shots were possible.

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 Post subject: Re: Karoo, Camdeboo, Addo Elephant and Table Mountain
Unread postPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 9:35 am 
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Just a little bit more pics of the trunked ones, people. My sincere apologies.

The last wet ellie pic!

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What we didn’t see this time was herds of grey masses lining up next to waterholes. Made sense of course, the water was everywhere after the rains. What we experienced several times was relatively small groups of elephants bursting out of the scrub as if they came out of nowhere (I am ALLWAYS amazed to see how well hidden these giants can be behind a bit of shrubbery). OK, we talk about the gentle addo ellies but still…our heartbeats went a bit faster on those occasions.

Now speaking about the “friendliness” of the addo elephants (except for some ex-kruger bulls): most of them are indeed incredibly gentle. However, on two occasions youngsters gave us a bit of a hard time. One chased us away from a tiny baby (while the mother obviously didn’t mind our near presence) and another one forced us to reverse for about 300 metres. Kruger bull descendants? Anyway, never had that before in Addo.

Here are some pics to prove we also enjoyed dry elephant sightings.

I rather like this little one eager to follow his mummy (or aunt, who will tell).

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The following image is a proof of how well they can hide their enormous bodies.

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And finally the last ellie pic. This was also our last encounter with these magnificent beasts for this trip. You wouldn’t think, not even for one second, of overtaking this one, would you?

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Up next…well I don’t know yet. Maybe a couple of landscapes.

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 Post subject: Re: Karoo, Camdeboo, Addo Elephant and Table Mountain
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2011 10:36 am 
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Some more landscapes as promised.

For those who have been following this TR from the beginning...you already saw how green Addo was. Here is just one more pic to give you proof of that. Looks a bit like the southern serengeti after summer rains...

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One of the things that keeps on pulling me back to SA is its diversity of landscapes. It is hard to imagine, with this last green photo in mind, that the following landscape pictures were taken in the same country, only a couple of days earlier and only a bit more to the north.

Here is the Klipspringer Pass in Karoo NP...

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I just love these arid wide vistas. And the Klipspringer Pass is great for that. It was for me THE attraction of Karoo NP. I was also fond of the setting of the cottages (the cottages themselves being excellent as well but it's the position that makes them special). It's great to sit on the stoep with something to drink while watching a small herd of mountain zebra making its way up a hill. The gameviewing, by the way, was OK allthough we didn't see the specials. We did see both kind of zebras, gemsbok, springbok, kudu, baboon, hartebeest, goshawk, korhaan and...OSTRICH! At one moment we were convinced Karoo NP had been taken over by a farmer from Oudsthoorn...they were behind every other corner. I never saw larger groups of them either.

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There were two things that were a bit of a downside in this park. The first one being the construction works on the "western loop". Allthough you can go up the first stretch of the klipspringer pass to enjoy the views and you can do a good part of the Potlekkertjies loop all the way to the Doornhoek picnic area, I would still recommend you go once the works are finished and you can do the whole loop without turning the car. Wit a part of the road being inaccessible for the moment one gets the feeling he/she is missing some wonderful views and/or sightings. It also limits your chances of seeing black eagle. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Than there is the Lammertjiesleegte loop. While it was pretty good for gameviewing, at certain parts the roads bring you a bit too close to civilisation to my likings as you can see in the last pic of this post.

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Make no mistake however: I will go back once that loop has been taken care of. I would like to conclude with two very positive things about this park (next to the ones mentioned a bit higher):
the interpretive center that I thought was very intresting and last but not least...very good staff!

Voila, that was it as far as the Karoo NP goes!

Next: some more Addo inhabitants.

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 Post subject: Re: Karoo, Camdeboo, Addo Elephant and Table Mountain
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 11:31 am 
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Many thanks Micetta, Elsa and Pumbaa.

@Pumbaa: the Karoo rocks!

Nowadays, when having visited Addo, one of the first questions you are being asked is: "did you see the lions?"

Well....yes, we did!

Two females and two (sub-adult) males. On the Gorah loop more specifically, a bit past Carol’s Rest, where you can see the fence (as you will see in some pics). We saw them in the early afternoon and than again in the evening when our patience was rewarded with a little bit of action. One of the males was quite active and playful. At a given moment he even went into stalking mode when he saw a warthog coming close. At that moment I was pretty sure that we were about to witness our first lion kill ever but no such luck.

Anyhow, a good sighting. Unfortunately, not very good pics. They were not very close and most of the time they were just in front of that fence which gives the whole series rather a zoo feeling.Well, yes we did.

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Would some one be able to ID these lions? Many thanks.

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Last edited by Salva on Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Karoo, Camdeboo, Addo Elephant and Table Mountain
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 8:39 am 
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Thanks a lot Pumbaa, Micetta, PJL and lettuceleaf711.

@PJL: it's true the park was INCREDIBLY green!

Another predator we saw in Addo was, not surprisingly, the black backed jackal. What did surprise me however was the number of them we saw. On all drives we saw quite a few but it was our first morning drive that will stay in my memory as the drive with the most jackals EVER. We counted no less than 23 jackals in two hours (9 sightings). And some intresting sightings as well! One included three adults and one subadult scavanging from the remainings of a kudu (no pics, sorry) and one of them was a very nervous jackal who was probably calling for his/her companion and did not like our presence. And another one came extremely close to the car to check us out.

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 Post subject: Re: Karoo, Camdeboo, Addo Elephant and Table Mountain
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:55 pm 
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Hello lovely people. I still have to finish this TR! My sincere apologies that it took me so long to continue. But hey, thanks to gwendolen among others, I am not the worst of the bunch. :lol:

By the way, a VERY belated thanks to Micetta, Pumbaa, jjames04 and anne-marie.

When driving through Addo, we invented a new activity. My SO was pregant at that time (“was” because our little boy, Andries, was born on the 4th of october of 2011; so I guess you all understand the reason of my late posts :wink: ). We agreed to put 5 euro for each mammal species we saw on his saving acount, with 5 euro extra per predator species. Not only was that a good operation for Andries (80 euro) but this way we record and remember better what we saw. We intend to do this for every game park now. (Andries fully agrees with that intention).

So what did we see?

- elephant
- kudu
- bushbuck
- warthog
- eland
- buffalo
- vervet monkey
- cape grysbok
- burchell zebra
- red hartebeest
- BB jackal
- lion
- yellow mongoose

You want prove that we saw cape grysbok? Here it is.

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Kudu, warthog, vervet.

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And finally…my own version of Diane Fossey’s classic:

ELANDS in the mist

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 Post subject: Re: Karoo, Camdeboo, Addo Elephant and Table Mountain
Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:01 pm 
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Pumbaa, Sable, Micetta, Elsa and Sharifa: Many Thanks! :thumbs_up:

To conclude the Addo stuff: here are some bird pics. All of them "usual suspects".

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Up next: TMNP with a pleasant and unexpected extra and an unpleasant but expected extra.

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 Post subject: Re: Karoo, Camdeboo, Addo Elephant and Table Mountain
Unread postPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:59 am 
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Thanks a lot Anne-Marie, Sharifa and Micetta! Much appreciated!

Table Mountain NP!!! To us both, a visit to SA is not complete without staying at least a couple of nights in Cape Town. Going to the Cape is like coming home. This is one of the few places where I would like to grow old. And it’s not so much because of the city in itself, it is the combination of so many things and among others, of course, its splendid natural surroundings. Not many cities can offer a national park within its boundaries, to name just one thing.

It had been quite a few years since we had last visited the cape of good hope section of the park. This year, luckily, we had put it on the list, weather permitting. Well, the last day of our trip gave us one of those glorious sunny days without any wind so we couldn’t wait to arrive there. A great drive and several baboon encounters ( we met the one that can open doors – I locked my doors about 5 seconds before he arrived thanks to the guy that keeps an eye on them) we enjoyed the great views from the southern tip of this great peninsula.

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In the previous post I wrote that we had a pleasant and unexpected experience as well as an unpleasant but expected experience.

Here is the pleasant and unexpected experience.

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Eland! From the Cape Point lookout, I was looking down at the Cape of Good Hope when suddenly my eyes caught movement some hundred metres below me. There they were, browsing at ease, lifting their head from time to time to scan the environment. So great to see them with the ocean in the back. Mind you, we seemed to be the only ones to really appreciate this appearance.

And here is the unpleasant but expected surprise. No Comment

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The drive back to Cape Town provided the ideal picture to conclude this report. So long SA, this was the last time we visited you being only two of us. I can’t wait to show your landscapes, people and of course your wildlife to little Andries. (technically of course, he already experienced the cape as a foetus LOL)

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