PART 2 – I will start off by saying it is a real privilege to be able to visit the fantastic national parks in South Africa, they are truly a national treasure. Each one is unique, and memorable.
I will not cover every single animal sighting in this report, but will try to give you all an overall feel and sense of the trip. I will also ask my SO contribute some observations (she has the note book with all of the sightings and locations). I will NOT be posting photos until the end of the week, all my photos are on my laptop, and I will only get my laptop back later this week. BTW I have about 2000 to sort through
So after a long trip from California to Upington (LAX to JFK to Frankfurt to OT to Upington), I get tired just thinking about the trip…
I eventually arrived in Upington to meet up with the rest of the group. My SO and son meet me at the airport and we collect our rental vehicle to be used for the coming weeks. My SO and the rest of the group arrived the day before and had done the required food shopping
bless them.... Based on good advice from other forumites we were able to order meat in advance of our trip (from a local Upington butcher) via email and it was ready for collection all vacuum packed and frozen when the SO arrived (great service and good quality meat). We stayed at a nice B&B in Upington on the Friday night. When I eventually crawled into bed, I slept like a baby
We were all up early on Saturday and had a nice cooked breakfast, packed the vehicles and did some last minute shopping before we were on our way. Now I should say the last time the SO and I were in the KTP was in 2000… so we were delighted to see the new tarred road. We stopped in Ashkam for some wood (another excellent recommendation) and not long after this we arrived at the park; it was nice to be back
We were given the family chalet at the south end above the camp site, we had to wait a little while before we could unpacked all our gear, so we had a quick look around camp, let down the tires (as recommended) and had an obligatory ice cream. Once we had unpacked we went out for our first afternoon drive. It was great to just be out in the bush again, and we were lucky to quickly see some of the more common game like Springbok, Gemsbok and Wildebeest, and some excellent raptor sightings, including a Martial eagle nesting near Leeudril waterhole. We also spotted a number of Cori bustards, not something you see so often in the KNP (at the time we did not realize we would see so many of them during the coming week). The Goshawks are prolific in the park, and make for good photography subjects. We sat at the Samevloeing waterhole and watched a herd of Springbok come and go from the water hole. I did notice a number of other vehicles, with doors wide open, and folks getting out of vehicles (we were to see this many times in the park over the coming week)?
After getting back to camp we start the fire. It gets cold quickly in the Kalahari as soon as the sun goes down, and you can feel the cold creeping in. It was nice to stand around the fire and stay warm. Whilst standing around the BBQ, we all notice the amount of stars in the sky; yes the night sky is simply spectacular…. My son got my Ipad out (I have the night sky app) and we use the Ipad to explore the night sky picking out the individual stars, identifying the constellations etc. The Milky Way actually looks milky
We enjoy an excellent BBQ (admittedly we eat indoors away from the cold) and then all retired for the night. Sleeping in the national parks always seems to be different, typically I sleep very well. Is it the night sounds, or the darkness or both? None the less, I slept very well, ahh nice to be back in the park.
Photos to follow later as mentioned earlier…..