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 Post subject: Ollie Two parks, one trip..... July 2011
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:04 pm 
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Two parks, in one trip…..

Well just back from another very memorable trip, with loads of photos, memories and jet lag…..

PART 1 - It felt like a long time ago since we were last in South Africa, and in fact it had been two years. In 2010 we decided to plan another trip to SA and so the big question was where to go (choices, choices)? After much discussion and deliberation we decided to do something we had not done before, to visit two parks in one trip. The plan unfolded and we decided on the KTP and KNP. That was the easy part, and then came the booking and planning etc.…. It would seem no matter how late we stay up at night (California time) so we can be first to call the reservations office, we just simply are never able to get what we want, and often settle for the next best options. However, we really can’t complain because the folks that take our calls at the reservations office are so helpful we tend to forget we did not get our first options. So after some small changes to our original plans we have a booking for July 2011, starting in the KTP and then on to the KNP. Now for the fun stuff like: booking travel, securing vacation time, cars, food etc. etc. As normal our good friends would be joining from Australia for the trip.
When all this is done, that's when the clock s l o w s d o w n…… Waiting for the 11 months to pass seems to really drag on, however the trip is over in a blink (it should be the other way around). We are fortunate to get the following booked for our trip:

KTP
Twee Rivieren x 1 night
Nossob x 2 nights
KTC x 2 nights
Twee Rivieren x 1 night

KNP
Mopani x 2 nights
Olifants x 1 night
Satara x 3 nights
Croc Bridge x 3 nights

It may take me a little while to get the TR going, you all know the same old excuses…..work!!! I will try and get things going over the coming weekend.

More to come soon……..


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 Post subject: Re: Two parks, one trip.....
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 3:30 pm 
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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 :D

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… :lol: 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 :D 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 :thumbs_up:
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 :dance: 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 8) 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…..


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 Post subject: Re: Two parks, one trip.....
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:28 pm 
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PART 3 – As is probably the norm for most people in the park, we were up nice and early and ready for our long days drive up to Nossob. All packed up, wrapped up and with mugs of hot tea we hit the road/dirt track. The morning air is cold and cuts through you, brrrr. We trundle along slowly trying to get our eyes accustomed to the game spotting. The air is crystal clear and the light is magnificent, and as the sun comes up everything is bathed in golden light. Just before the Houmoed water hole the SO says “Leopard’… I stop and sure enough sitting up on the crest on the dunes is an impressive Leopard, it does not stick around long. Not a bad start to the day :clap: We continue along the river bed and see plenty of Springbok and Gemsbok, with a few Wildebeest mixed in. Again we are lucky to see some excellent raptors, both in the trees and flying around. We take the lower dune road across to Melkvlei, the road is good. We stop at the picnic spot for a cooked breakfast, there is nothing nicer than having a breakfast in the middle of the bush. Simply standing in the bush (with no fences) whilst making a bush breakfast just fills you with the sense of excitement :D
We continue our journey, with full stomachs, and from this point on the road conditions deteriorate and become very corrugated. Whilst this is fully expected it does take a while to get used to the constant rattling and bumping. Near Kameelsleep we see a few cars stopped and find they are watching a family of Cheetah (Mother + 4) cross the dirt track, wow!!! It is spectacular to see them. The four not so young cubs have full stomachs, you could see they had just been eating, as a frew of them have bright red faces (blood.... from the not so lucky lunch snack) and they were now looking for a place to rest up for the afternoon. Soon enough they are far off in the hills. It is all a question of timing 10 mins either way and we would have seen nothing. What a great sighting to see the Cheetah :dance: We continue our journey up to Nossob, and are luck continues with more birds of prey. Just before arriving at Nossob (2Km south from the gate at +/- 4.30pm) we spot a Brown Hyena, wow a first for me… :big_eyes: I fumble around to get my camera out, and manage a few (not so good) photos before it lies down and disappears like magic, again perfect timing! I am on cloud nine; I have always wanted to see a BH. I recently read the book ‘Hyena Nights, Kalahari Days’ by Dr. Gus Mills about Brown Hyena in this very area of the Kgalagadi park, so you can imagine the thrill of seeing one of these secretive animals, even though fleetingly.

As I have said before photos will follow soon.


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 Post subject: Re: Two parks, one trip.....
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 7:50 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Hello,

I am Ollie's SO. I will add a few comments during the trip report. You will have to wait for Ollie for the photos as I have no idea what to do. Fortunately his laptop is back home, so now he just has to find the time to work through the photos.

We had been in SA for a couple of weeks prior to the start of our KTP trip. I drove up from Cape Town with our son & my parents. Not too bad a drive. Just lots of roadworks :o Will make the next trip a bit easier.

My parents had never been to KTP, so it was great to share it with them. I love the red dunes. Never know quite what to expect.

It was wonderful to hear the BBJ's calling , and the night sky is amazing. Love the Kalahari.

_________________
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better
Albert Einstein

KNP July 2013


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 Post subject: Re: Two parks, one trip.....
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:00 pm 
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PART 4 - We eventually arrive at Nossob, what of a relief given it had been a whole day driving and really our first whole day in the park, not to mention getting used to the road conditions, I am not complaining…… :wink:

I love the entry and exit to this camp, you are required to open and close the gate yourself. The entry and exit gates going north or south are divided by the entrance to the camp site hide that overlooks the water hole (this is also home to the Nossob web cam).

We are given the family chalet that stand on its own on the small hill. The camp is full, and has a great feel to it. Many camp fires are already going and the smoke hangs heavy in the cold air. We get our own fire going and settle in with a few drinks, a nice way to relax and discuss the day’s game viewing. After eating dinner someone notices something laying next the BBQ, wow it’s a jackal and it does not seem very phased by our presence, hmm this can’t be the first time this has happened… perhaps it is used to being fed? :hmz:

After dinner SO and I visit the hide, it is very cold and whilst we don’t get to see anything, we can certainly hear the Jackals crying all over the place. Nossob hide is home to the forum web cam, it hangs on the left hand side of the hide, at night when all is quite you can hear the cam humming away (must be all the forumites watching the water hole).

We are all up early (07h30 not that early). We decide to drive up a little way north to Kwang, and although it quiet, the morning air and colors are wonderful. We don’t see very much and decide to head back towards Nossob and stop off at the Cubitje Quap waterhole and watch the Namaqua doves and sandgrouse arriving for water. It is risky business indeed, they are watched closely by a falcon.
The sandgrouse are particularly interesting to watch. They do a fly-by before coming in to land. They stop briefly for a drink and then off again, do a fly-by and then land again on the second pass. We spent about 1 hour watching them. Then back to camp for a lovely breakfast.

ps. we are working on the photos and hope to have some soon.

_________________
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better
Albert Einstein

KNP July 2013


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 Post subject: Re: Two parks, one trip.....
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 2:02 am 
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http://public.fotki.com/Ollie123/ktp-an ... html#media


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 Post subject: Re: Two parks, one trip.....
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 2:03 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Two parks, one trip.....
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 2:05 am 
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OK, so I have eventually had time to work on some of the photos... The one above was the BH near Nossob.... I will post more photos shortly.


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 Post subject: Re: Two parks, one trip.....
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 2:07 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Two parks, one trip.....
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 5:08 pm 
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OK, some more photos.... As I have mentioned I spent some time at Cubitje Quap waterhole, it was great to watch the Sandgrouse coming in for a drink, they would do a flyby first and then on the second time around they would come in to drink..... always being watched by the ever present predator (ID please).


Sandgrouse

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The ever present predator waiting for an opportunity to swoop in..... often hiding in the bushes around the waterhole.

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 Post subject: Re: Two parks, one trip.....
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 1:27 am 
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Enjoying your adventures, Ollie! Usually the attendant avian predator at KTP waterholes is a lanner falcon, but I think that yours is a juvenile gabar goshawk — nice pix! And gorgeous sandgrouse, too!


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 Post subject: Re: Two parks, one trip.....
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 3:42 pm 
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Some more photos and then we will continue the trip report... that has us moving to Kalahari Tented Camp and some super sightings of Cheetah.


Image

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This is the little Jackal that arrived after dinner one night at Nossob... sorry about the photo quality, I had no flash.... he just sat next to the BBQ and was not phased by us at all!

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 Post subject: Re: Two parks, one trip.....
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 3:50 pm 
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Nossob to KTC :

We enjoyed our time at Nossob, and now looked forward to KTC... On the way South we decided to take Marie se draai, not to far into the loop my SO spots a Spotted Eagle Owl, it was hiding in the shadows and made for a difficult picture, a little further on we see our fist Spotted Hyena of the trip. As we continue South we we see some more raptors, a Tawny and a immature Martial eagle.. We decide to stop at Dikbaardskolk for breakfast, whilst at the picnic spot we are harassed by a Jackal..... The dune road is quite, and the road conditions are not bad. Near Kamqua we see two Verroux Eagle owls. We have not been to KTC before and we delighted to see the small camp. We are all tired from the drive across and decide to just take it easy at camp and enjoy the location. After dinner I try to take photos of the night sky, We are always in awe of stars you can see when out in the bush... the milky way is looks milky!! I don't have a tripod with me so I balance the camera on one of the posts... it works out ok.


Next up a real treat, Cheetah.


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 Post subject: Re: Two parks, one trip.....
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:20 pm 
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Some more photos...

The quality of the photo is not great, conditions were tough. This is the Spotted Eagle owl.
Image

The immature Martial....

Image

and Mum looking on from above....

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Red Hartebeest

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 Post subject: Re: Two parks, one trip.....
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:25 pm 
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Two star shots without a tripod....... I lay the camera down on one of poles nxt to the bbq area.

http://images107.fotki.com/v70/photos/8/370918/10018205/_MG_7228-vi.jpg

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