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 Post subject: Re: Magical Kgalagadi
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 8:57 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
Day 12

We woke up after a great night's sleep and were dying to see what this thirstland would serve up for us today. There had bee a lot of thunder activity during the night - we never got too wet but did experience a few nice showers.

Soon after leaving camp we found this Swallow-tailed bee-eater sunning itself

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We took a slow drive down towards Kamqua, letting all the traffic pass us so that they could leave us in peace. It is amazing how some folk are obsessed with being in front. One chap (red Isuzu LDV) repeated this on three successive mornings - he would simply put foot and overtake every vehicle that was ahead of him, including traffic from Kalahari Tented Camp within the first few km! Well he certainly missed what I will show you just now!

Sightings included a BBJ that was eating the stomach contents of a recent kill

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A very light coloured Tawny Eagle we saw plenty of these

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A rather lonely Giraffe on 14de Boorgat loop

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A Brown Snake-eagle

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We decided not to take the 13de Boorgat loop, mainly because the road was in such atrocious condition and how lucky we were. As we crested the dune we saw two male Cheetah walking parallel to the road. They appeared to be on a mission and never let the few vehicles that were following bother them. They eventually moved across the Auob and over the dunes on the eastern side. I will let the pictures tell the story of this really special sighting

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_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

19-21/04/14 : Tankwa Karoo NP (Langkloof)
22-24/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Kwass se Baai)
25-27/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Koringkorrelbaai)
28/04-01/05/14 : Cederberg (Driehoek)


Last edited by canon on Tue Jun 05, 2012 9:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Magical Kgalagadi
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 9:10 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
.....continued

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_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

19-21/04/14 : Tankwa Karoo NP (Langkloof)
22-24/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Kwass se Baai)
25-27/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Koringkorrelbaai)
28/04-01/05/14 : Cederberg (Driehoek)


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 Post subject: Re: Magical Kgalagadi
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:58 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
Day 13

The only down-side to spending a long time at Mata Mata is the fact that there is not much variety in the drives that you can take - in fact there is no variety unless you want to do a really long drive by crossing to the Nossob valley via the dune roads. The other downside is that some people can really get on your nerves, especially if they are also planning a long stay at MM. Well in our case this happened - this morning the cowboy in the red Isuzu once again overslept a bit and then had to hurtle past all and sundry to be in the front - good old "voorbok". I don't think he could possibly have had many good sightings driving at this speed.

This morning we ambled down the seriously deteriorating road seeing plenty of antelope grazing peacefully on the abundance of green grass. We were once again bid good morning by a beautiful little Swallow-tailed Bee-eater

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Each year when we visit KTP the Giraffe numbers seem to be on the increase which id great. We did, however, see a recently killed Giraffe lying near Craig Lochardt so hopefully the Lions are not taking a liking to these stately animals. They always look so calm and relaxed as they go about feeding on their favourite trees, the Grey Camelthorn. They have also increased their range because we saw a group of them right down near Auchterlonie. They really make a pretty picture when climbing the dunes

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Other sightings on our morning drive were a large herd of Sprinbok seeking shade under a tree near Batulama. Clearly rutting season had arrived because there were a number og Springbok rams fiercely defending their territory - chasing off any potential threats that came their way. At times this was quite comical with all the histrionics that went on!

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On the way back to MM we bumped into this group of young Ostriches - their was an adult pair keeping an eye on them all the time

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When back in camp I set off once again in serach of Owls. The tree outside the shop is a real devil because it is so dense, making owl spotting quite difficult. Eventually I did find a Whiite-faced Scops owlet sitting quite low down in the tree but far too hidden to photograph. It was to be my lucky day because I soon spotted a Pearl-spotted Owlet in the big tree behind the "old chalets" right against the Namibian fence. It was interesting to see a Laughing Dove continuously harassing the owlet by "dive bombing " it at regular intervals. The owlet did not seem too fussed. I also noticed a number of holes in the tree stump, clearly used for nesting. I know that these owlets sometimes "borrow these nests - possibly this one had chicks/eggs because it stayed in the tree for much of the morning.

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The girls decided to stay in camp instead of going out for a short evening drive so I set off on my own with the intension of driving to Craig Lochardt and back. Well I never even got that far because a little a little way beyond Sitsas I spotted this Lion lying up on the dune on the right hand side. He eventually got up and strolled around smelling the bushes and doing the usual scent marking. He called a few times which made me wonder if he had lost a mate. He never came all the way down to the road but certainly kept the small crowd which had now gathered entertained

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By now it was getting late so I headed back (the red Isuzu hurtled past me!). Right at the Kalahari Tented camp this Lioness appeared on the side of the road - most likely having been disturbed from its afternoon siesta by the hurtling red Isuzu. She too was all alone which meant that we had seen a surprising number of single Lion on this trip

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Tonight the weather looked really threatening with plenty of fireworks all round. It rained gently for most of the night which was a new experience for us.

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

19-21/04/14 : Tankwa Karoo NP (Langkloof)
22-24/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Kwass se Baai)
25-27/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Koringkorrelbaai)
28/04-01/05/14 : Cederberg (Driehoek)


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 Post subject: Re: Magical Kgalagadi
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:25 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
Day 14

We had a really interesting start to the day. We were busy brewing a cuppa just before sunrise when we heard a few grunting sounds and could not believe our eyes - a huge lion and three lionesses were strolling down the fence and passed a mere 10 m from us on their way to the waterhole. That certainly dispelled the myth that there is very little escitement at the MM waterhole. They had a drink and disappeared in to rising sun. Unfortunately no pics because I was taken completely by surprise!

We set of on our normal drive down the Auob and found this pair of Secretary birds doing a beautiful courting dance (I assume that is what they call it) near the Dalkeith loop turn-off

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For some or other reason a Crowned Lapwing took exception to them and proceeded to scare them off!

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So they bid a hasty retreat

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We were very excited to find two Red-necked Falcons onear Dertiende Boorgat - the one was busy with its breakfast

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Near Urikaruus waterhole (appears to no longer exist) we were fortunate to come across a pair of lions doing what lions do best. This fellow (once again a young male) looked very comfortable

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En-route back we found this Secretary Bird that we are sure had a "kill" in the long grass. It was very cagey and would not reveal anything to us. We waited a while and then decided to head back to camp where we spent a quiet afternoon. The weather once again looked threatening and there were a number of hard showers during the night. The red Isuzu had left - hooray!!

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_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

19-21/04/14 : Tankwa Karoo NP (Langkloof)
22-24/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Kwass se Baai)
25-27/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Koringkorrelbaai)
28/04-01/05/14 : Cederberg (Driehoek)


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 Post subject: Re: Magical Kgalagadi
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:57 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
Day 15

We had a relaxed morning in the camp before going off on a drive. This LBR kept us entertained in the camp. He would sit on a pole near the bird hide scanning the area for something to eat . He would swoop down, catch the gogo, fly across to the other side of the Auob, eat it and then fly back to his lookout on the pole.. I eventually managed to get a pic (albeit not very good) of the LBR about to pounce on its "kill"

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On our drive we saw our first Giant Eagle Owl of the trip

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We battled to ID this bird - have a suspicion that it is a Juv Gabar Goshawk

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This talkative PCG caught our attention at the turn-off to 14 de Boorgat

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This Tawny Eagle was enjoying a bath in the puddles left by the rain that fell during the night

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We saw very few Martial Eagles on this trip. We pleased to find this fellow near Dalkeith

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My daughter loved the Bat-eared Foxes

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We witnessed some strange behaviour from the Gemsbok. They seemed to enjoy digging the grass out from the verges of the road with their horns. Would this be some sort of scent marking? This activity was quite frenetic at times

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This PCG was enjoying its feathery brunch

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This is a typical KTP scene - the reason why we all return again and again

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_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

19-21/04/14 : Tankwa Karoo NP (Langkloof)
22-24/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Kwass se Baai)
25-27/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Koringkorrelbaai)
28/04-01/05/14 : Cederberg (Driehoek)


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 Post subject: Re: Magical Kgalagadi
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:22 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:15 am
Posts: 328
Location: Vale of Belvoir, UK
Your "UNCERTAIN" bird image is I believe a juvenile Gabar Goshawk

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Notice the orange cere, and the "little Sparrowhawk" does not normally occur that far South/West. :?

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SueJ - Sand Rover !

KTP 2012 - Green Dunes, hungry mice & frozen toothpaste

Kalahari Tapas 2010http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=48065&hilit=kalahari+tapas

Kagalagadi Wheat Fields TR 2008


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 Post subject: Re: Magical Kgalagadi
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:43 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
Day 16

Once again there was rain during the night and when dawn broke there was an eerie mist hanging in the Auob valley. The scenery was quite spectacular

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On the Dalkeith loop we fouynd this White-backed Vulture drying himself out in the early morning sunshine

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The animals all seemed energized by the rain and early morning sunshine - there were animals all over the place. The Gemsbok cvertainly own this place

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On to 14de Boorgat without much luck but at the end of 13 de Boorgat loop we spotted this Spotted Hyena coming over the rudge. It seemed to be on a mission, hurrying across the valley and up the other side

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As a last minute decision we decided to push on as far as Kamque picnic site - had packed a basket in case. This proved to be a good decision because eventually we found our elusive African Wild Cat near the Urikaruus view point

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We really enjoyed this sighting. Futher down things were hotting up amongst the Sprinbok - clearly brutting season had arrived

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We enjoyed our stop-off at Kamqua. The picnic site was really neat and well kept but unfortunately there was a serious problem with the toilets. Our favourite camelthorn tree seemed to be on its way out. It is always sad to see these huge trees dying.

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The ever-present Crows kept us entertained - they were not as talkative as usual though

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We had a quiet trip back. We found a very busy family of mice scurrying around. They certainly are under threat from the numerous raptors that abound in the KNP

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It takes this....

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to make this...

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This Sprinbok fawn really was unseasonal - the only one we saw on the trip.

The rest of the day was spent at leasure simply enjoying Mata Mata. We were keen to take a drive into Namibia but were informed that our passports needed to have been stamped at Twee Rivieren.

_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

19-21/04/14 : Tankwa Karoo NP (Langkloof)
22-24/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Kwass se Baai)
25-27/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Koringkorrelbaai)
28/04-01/05/14 : Cederberg (Driehoek)


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 Post subject: Re: Magical Kgalagadi
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:29 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
Day 17

We stayed up quite late last night - sad that the week at MM had flown by so quickly. We baked a very tasty sweetcorn bread whilst listening to the night sounds

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We were up reasonably early and decided to do a thorough "pack-up" because tonight we would be in a chalet at TR before depating for home the following day. Unfortunately our tents were wet dbecause of overnight rain so we left them for last - the early morning sun did a reasonably good job at drying them out.

Here are a few pics of our camp at MM

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We had a lovely view of the old waterhole (which has water again) and were quite close to the hide

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We checked out at about 10h30 and set off on a nice slow drive down to TR. It was great having a young driver too

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These dunes near the tented Camp turn-off are really stunning

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En-route we saw a wide variety of Kalahari residents which you can see in the following pictures

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This fellow caused quite a bit of debate in the Landy - coclusion was that it is a Gabar Goshawk

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This silly fellow was not only scrummaging with other Sprinbok rams - he was tackling the bushes as well. He seemed really proud of his Kalahari crown!

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We stopped at Auchterlonie for a cuppa. The view from the top is really lovely

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Here is another typical KTP scene

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This Tawny and Giant Eagle Owl greeted us as the day drew to a close

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We checked in at TR and were allocated unit No 22. It was good to be in a solid structure again but I must say the place was really shabby. Work certainly needs to be done on these units. We took a quick drive up to Leeudril and saw this Secretary Bird perched on its nest - seemed to be battling with its balance

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Our last Kalahari sunset had diffrent moods

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_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

19-21/04/14 : Tankwa Karoo NP (Langkloof)
22-24/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Kwass se Baai)
25-27/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Koringkorrelbaai)
28/04-01/05/14 : Cederberg (Driehoek)


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 Post subject: Re: Magical Kgalagadi
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 1:07 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 328
Location: Grahamstown
Day 18

We decided to spend the morning in the park before departing for Spitzkop which is just outside Upington where we would be spending the night before heading home to Grahamstown. We packed up early because our route today would be up to Leeudril, over the dunes via the Leeudril 4x4 route to the Auob, up to Auchterloni, back over the dunes to Kij Kij, down to TR and then sadly our exit and end of a magnificent journey through this Kalahari thirstland.

A typical Kalahari sunrise geeted us

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We saw our first Spotted Eagle Owl of the trip near Leeudril. Unfortunately the light was bad but here is the evidence

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The Leeudril 4x4 route is really a lovely drive. There had been light rain during the night which added to the lovely desert smells as we crossed the dunes. Not much life on the route except a very cold Greater Kestrel

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We got excited when we found three sets of Cheetak spoor in the road. This spoor were in the road for the best part of 2km and we were convinced that we would find the Cheetah in the Auob valley but not to be!The route finishes at this lovely viewpoint that overlooks the Houmoed waterhole.

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Soon after turning onto the Auob road en-route for Auchterloni were found two bachelor boys sunning themselves on the dunes

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We had a quick coffee at the picnic site before proceeding over the dunes to Kij Kij. We spent some time at my favourite waterhole, Tierkop, before heading on and down to TR. Along the way we saw this lovely Slender Mongoose who, for a change, seemed to enjoy having its photo taken

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We came across a huge Sociable Weaver nest - a large section had broken off and was lying next to the road. The birds seemed to be hard at work repairing damage to this section. Being on the ground certainly sets the nests up for raids from numerous hungry predators! This little tortoise was in attendance at the nest

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Our trip ended on a sad note with this sighting. One wonders how on earth a vehicle could be driving so fast that it killed this beautiful creature. I love these Pygmy Falcons and they seem quite scarce. Speeding is a real problem, especially on the new section from TR to Leeudril. Sad sad sad

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All good things come to an end - we checked out, glanced back once or twice with a quiet promise to ourselves that WE WOULD BE BACK SOON.

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_________________
WE ALL HAVE TWO CHOICES : We can make a living or we can design a life

19-21/04/14 : Tankwa Karoo NP (Langkloof)
22-24/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Kwass se Baai)
25-27/04/14 : Namaqua NP (Koringkorrelbaai)
28/04-01/05/14 : Cederberg (Driehoek)


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