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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 9:01 am 
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Thanks billf, MM and hilda. Yes it was a really special sighting.

The day ended with this stunning sunset, and a really nice steak braai!! :)

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tbc

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:47 pm 
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Day 13: Unlucky for some!!


We arose on our thirteenth day of our holiday to cloudy skies, which was a change after the clear sunny days we had had thus far.

We were at the gate bright and early, and decided to head down around Marie’s yet again.

We were presented with this sunrise whilst on the way.

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Maries was quiet as we meandered around, with no sign of the previous evening’s cheetah family.

Along the way we came across this herd of Kudu


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As well as these Rooi Hartebeest.

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All being very quiet, we got to the end of the loop and turned around to return to Maries se gat for coffee and rusks.


Whilst we were enjoying the serenity of the waterhole another vehicle arrived and told us that they had just seen the cheetah family a bit further back, and that the mother was limping very badly with what appeared to be a broken front leg! :big_eyes:

We were mortified. If that was the case, there would be no ways the family would survive as the cubs were still too small to catch prey on their own. :cry:

We quickly set off in the direction indicated to ourselves, and soon spotted the unhappy family quite far away in the riverbed near to where we had seen them the previous evening.

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The mother was in a great deal of discomfort and could only walk for short periods at a time.

We watched them for a while until it appeared as if they were settled for the day, and returned to camp feeling pretty deflated at what we had seen.

We assumed that she must have injured her leg in a hunt the previous evening, either by tripping into a hole in the ground or she had been kicked. We just hoped that it was not too serious and that she could recover. Nature is so cruel sometimes.. :evil:

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2012 2:49 pm 
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Day 13 cont.. A day NOT for the birds!!

We got back to camp about mid morning with the intention of spending a fair bit of time in camp as we had quite a few domestic chores to handle before we set off for Urikaruus the next day.

It was not all work, and we both got a chance to play with my camera in camp a bit.

Especially for Caracal we took a photo of the only Koringkriek we saw the whole trip. :twisted:

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As well of as this Groundscraper thrush.

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Debbie went off to download pictures and to do some of the washing up, and I took a stroll to the birdhide. (It was her turn!! )

The hide was a hive of activity with the blue wildebeest really putting on a show for me.


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They were accompanied by hundreds of doves and a few jackals.

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It was all quite fun watching.


Now I am in no ways superstitious, but I do believe that on this day the birds in and around Nossob had things coming at them, and they were to come in threes!!

First up was the case of the jackal and the dove:

I was quite intrigued at the antics of the jackals at the waterhole as they tried to hunt the doves which were coming down to quench their thirsts.

They really were trying hard, but almost always seemed to miss as the birds would suddenly take fright and all take off leaving the poor jackal stranded and looking pretty silly.

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That was until one got lucky.

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Totally over the moon at having seen a “kill” and of having got a few “proof” pics of the event, I rushed back to the ablution area to tell Debbie what I had just seen.

On my way there I noticed the second bad bird moment:

The mongoose and the dove.

A yellow mongoose had just caught a dove in the camping area. Debs grabbed her camera and was soon getting up close and personal with the action :D

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This sighting must rank as one of the best of our trip, and it was all in the Nossob campsite!

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TBC

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:37 pm 
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Thanks lion queen, hilda and enrico

@ enrico
Glad you got the chance to read our report :D

Day 13 cont.. A day NOT for the birds!! Cont ….

A PCG not in a tree!

Ok so this is a bit of poetic licence, but them it is my trip report and I am writing it! :redface:

We left Nossob for our afternoon drive and at Rooikop we came upon this Pale Chanting Goshawk, which appeared to be injured.

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The bird was just parking off on the ground looking very sorry for itself. (the next day on our way out, it was still there, but I am sure that by now, there is a very happy BBJ with a full tummy somewhere near Rooikop.) :twisted:


We also came upon these Kori bustards, which did not turn their bums towards us as soon as we pointed a camera at them :redface:

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We were anxious to see if we could re-connect with the cheetah family, and at almost the same spot as where we left them earlier in the day, we found them again.


Nothing had changed. :cry:

Mommy was still limping badly, and we felt that the babies were starting to nag for their next meal…


This is another proof pic as they were a bit far away for our camera equipment.

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We returned to camp, really concerned about our little family, and mentioned to the field guide, Melissa, who was about to go out on a sunset drive to keep an eye out for them.

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:37 pm 
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Sorry about the delay (Again!!) :redface: in posting the next episode. Life got in the way again!

Day 14; A last visit to Maries and leaving Nossob:

Day number 14 of our trip saw us getting up and out of bed with very mixed emotions.

One side of us was really excited about the next stage of our trip. A whole lot of nights in “luxury” at Urikaruus, with no more camping for the holiday.Whilst on the other side, we kinda enjoyed the camping, and Nossob had been really good to us this year. It is always sad to say goodbye, and even more so to one of our most favourite places in the world.


We were first at the gate, -(Only because WillieW had left), but I soon had to move my vehicle so that Melissa, who was doing a morning drive could get past.
Morning drives leave about 30 minutes before the gates open.
She was headed south, and on the look out for cheetahs.

Once they headed off, I took a stroll down to the hide,and took this pic of the sunrise.

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We came upon Melissa and her guests just after Rooikop. They had spotted our family of cheetah.

Great news!! They were on a kill. The cubs had chased down a jackal, and had managed to pen it down long enough for old hop along to pitch, and to finish off the kill. Unfortunately they were hidden by long grass and we could see zip. We trusted her word, and carried on very happy campers.

lion queen wrote:
I do hope you'll have some good news about mom and cubs......I have to agree with Hilda........they seem big enough to help her.......... :pray:


:dance: :dance:

As this was a “transit” day, I really expected to see very little, (as was our custom), and Maries was dutifully quiet.

We did see this juvenile PCG on our way:

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Back at camp, a quick last trip to the birdhide provided Debbie with pics of the locals in action


A springbok

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And an ever hopeful jackal


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All to soon, after some sad farewells to Ron and Annette we were packed up and ready to set off to Urikaruus,

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We were just before Rooikop, when I spotted this puff adder in the road. What a stunning specimen!

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I was leaning out the car taking a photo of the snake, when I noticed a vehicle approaching quite fast. I expected it to slow down as we had obviously seen something, but no. My frantic gestures for him to slow down were ignored, and the ignoramus drove straight over the snake.
We were shocked and I saw the whole thing in slow motion. :big_eyes:
The snake spewed under our car, and after slowing moving away, we found the puffie on the side of the road.

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We were devastated, and really were pretty speechless. We eventually carried on in silence, contemplating what we had just experienced, and were really angry at not having got the registration number of the car. :cry:

Just after we got into Maries, at what we were now calling cheetah alley, we came across another cheetah family of 5. This time the cubs were tiny!!

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Very cute, but far away.

This sighting reminded us that all was still good in the land of the red dunes, and we carried on on our way!!

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 7:50 pm 
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Thanks guys :D

More over the weekend! :dance:

A sneak preview!!

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


Last edited by GavinW on Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:31 pm 
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Day 14: Urikaruus

Our trip down to Dikbaardskolk was uneventful. We stopped there for a short leg stretch before carrying on over the Dune road

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This cute steenbok was the highlight of the section.

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In the riverbed as you cross the river before going on the dune road just before Urikaruus, we came upon another Kgalagadi traffic jam.

The reason:

A coalition of 4 brothers on a kill.

They were about 50m off the road partially obscured by foliage, but we did manage a few pics


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(I had by now lost count of how many cheetah we had seen this trip) :redface: :redface:


After watching for a while, we decided to head up over the hill to book in to our accommodation for the next three nights

Urikaruus cabin no 1 :dance: :dance: Our unit of choice

Camp attendant Jacques, and these three longnecks greeted us


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What a special welcoming present!

Once settled in, we took a short drive back to see if the cheetahs had moved. They were passed out, flat under the tree, and going nowhere.

We returned to camp and spent a relaxed evening watching the comings and goings at the waterhole, before going to bed. I must admit, the new floodlight is a definate plus :thumbs_up:

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:59 pm 
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Day 15: Winter arrives, and provides!!!


I really don’t know who opened the freezer door, but whoever it was, seriously forgot to close it again.

:big_eyes:

Arriving at Urikaruus was like arriving in another country. Nossob and Polentswa had been mild, and with the exception of when we were on the night drives, we very seldom had to put more that a light sweater on in the evenings.

Here it was different. Everything was freezing. Holding a torch gave your hands frostbite, and everything from shampoo, toothpaste and LPG gas froze! :cry:

So when during the night we heard hyenas howling outside the cabins, there was NO WAY I was getting my beloved SO out from under the covers! I got up and saw them in the car park, but no pictures I am afraid. (It was a very quick peek out of the room!)

:redface:

We were up early and ready to go at “gate opening” time and headed off south.

Just out of camp as the sun was rising, we came across a herd of giraffe up on the rise, which presented us with our first photo opportunity of the day.

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Inbetween Montrose and Batulama, we came across a car which waved us down, and told us of a leopard walking along the riverbed about a kilometer further down the road. We were puzzled as to why they had left the sighting, but anyway we set off in search of the cat.

A trip down past Batulama revealed nothing, so we turned around and retraced our tracks. We eventually spotted it, as promised walking down the riverbed towards Batulama.


The leopard was quite far away and we were looking directly into the light, so our pictures are seriously cropped and not the greatest:

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I now need a page to turn so I can carry on, as this sighting was far from over :P

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:32 pm 
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Day 15: Spots continued


The leopard continued walking down the riverbed, and did not go unnoticed by some of the other residents of the area,

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Climbing in and out of the many camel thorn trees, the feline carried on, obviously on a bit of a mission.

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At one stage she (?) {wanderw I need your help here} disappeared up over the dunes for a while.

The leopard eventually came down from the dunes, and with any other cars now having left, all we saw was a whole lot of dust, followed by the leo with her catch in hand!

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YES, YES, Yes we had actually seen a kill. ( No photos though)

The leopard had caught an African Wild Cat, and soon settled down under a bush.

Image

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:56 pm 
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Day 15; Urikaruus excitement

We eventually left Miera (thanks for the ID wanderw) and carried on. She had now settled down under a bush on the far side of the riverbed, and was hardly visible. We did point her out to quite a few cars whilst we watched her though.

The trip back to camp provided sightings of these delightful slender mongooses

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And this snake eagle

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We then spent a bit of time in camp, showering and having a bite to eat, before setting off again. This time we headed off north.

We went as far north as just after the 14th borehole loop before turning around. All was pretty quiet until, on our return trip, we spotted these two cheetah lying flat on the ground. They were in-between the two borehole loops.

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(a proof pic of note!!)

After watching the cheetahs for a while, they were pretty far away and going nowhere.
We decided to carry on.

These giraffe were on the road in-between the cheetahs and home

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Thoughts to self:


“There are times when I really have a hard time writing trip reports, as they remind me only too well of what we had seen, and where I would much rather love to be.
This is one such time, as the next 36 hours were to prove to be pretty spectacular. Mind you on the other hand it is also a reminder as to how privileged we were to experience what we did.”


We had just settled into camp and were getting busy doing all those domestic things you do around supper time, like getting a glass of wine etc etc, when we noticed that the bokke at the waterhole suddenly became a little distressed.

We took note, and soon spotted this stunning caracal arriving for it’s evening drink as well.

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Wow Wow wow. Only our second ever sighting of a caracal in the KTP.

The sighting was brief, but certainly worth another toast. :thumbs_up:


Fifteen minutes later it was dark, and the bokke started performing yet again….


OK now it was time to get really excited ( Or drunk!) :dance: :dance: :dance: :redface:

The leopard walked around the chalets,



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sniffing at the various vehicles,

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before going to the waterhole for a drink.

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Two leopards, two cheetah and a caracal……. Not a shabby day’s work. ( Oh and the midnight hyena visitors)

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:43 pm 
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Day 16: The calm before the storm

Looking back into Debbie’s diary, she wrote…

”Drove to TR, saw nothing, downloaded, recharged batteries and back to Urikaruus. Stayed in”

Well that pretty much sums up the day, considering what we had seen before.

However it is not totally true. :lol:

The day did provide us with a whole lot of smaller sightings, which included:

This snake eagle

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Another family of suricates,

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Some squirrels

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A Kalahari chicken,


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Some of the Samevloeiing locals also made an appearance :P

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A Marico Fly catcher

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And size wise just the opposite, this Giant Eagle Owl

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On the way back we came upon this really rare Kgalagadi sighting, (One which we hope never to see again!!)

A blinking tour bus……………….. Horrors!!!! :big_eyes:

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We decided to spend the evening in the camp, as we were leaving for the Kalahari Tented Camp in the morning.

Once back in camp we were visited by a whole lot of the locals

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Sunset!!!

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As well as last night’s caracal came back to say goodbye.
(Sorry really just a proof pic)

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We went to bed very happy (but really cold!!) campers that night, not knowing what was in store for us in the next few hours!!

I had mentioned that it was cold, hadn’t I?

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:39 am 
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Thanks everyone for your comments, as well as for your patience with my delay in posting this episode. :D

Things that go grunt in the night.

It was at about 3am when we heard a whole lot of hyenas going ballistic just next to our cabin, or so it seemed. We dragged ourselves out of bed and had a quick look out the front of the unit (please take note that it was freezing).

We could see the culprits dashing about the place in quite a frenzy, they kept on darting into the riverbed just in front of our bedroom and then back behind a bush down the left side of the chalet. And by this time we were vrek cold, so we decided to go back to bed. :redface:

As we lay there, hardly able to go back to sleep with all the excitement outside, we suddenly heard this lamented groan, which sounded a bit like a wildebeest grunt. It continued for some time, and I said to Debbie, “They have definitely caught something” :big_eyes:

Remembering our friend Belinda’s experience at KTC, where some hyenas took out a wildebeest under their cabin, we wondered if we were about to have a similar experience.

Gus Mills in his book “Hyena nights and Kalahari Days” mentions that it is not uncommon for hyenas in the Kalahari to hunt, rather than to scavenge, due the scarcity of food in the desert.

Needless to say I was up and down like a yo-yo the whole night. Eventually the groaning stopped and we managed to doze off a bit. (Well just a very little bit)

Come 5.30 am we were up and getting ready for the day. We had to pack, as we were headed to KTC that morning, and we wanted to see what was going on outside.

A trip down to the catwalk revealed this chap, covered in blood wandering around the edges of the car park:

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As it got lighter, we managed to spot some more hyenas up on the ridge behind the camps assistants’ cabin

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Eventually, they moved off, and we were able to get out of the cabin(With the permission of the cabin attendant) and at last we could see what all the commotion was about.

This is what we saw:

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A clan of 5 hyenas had taken down a gemsbok, just 50m from our cabin, and had spent the night having a midnight feast :P

We watched them as they dragged what was left of the carcass aound the place:

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(Needless to say, there was to be no morning drive this morning!)


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Image TBC

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:16 pm 
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Image

After a while, we decided that we needed to:

a) get some coffee to warm up, and
b) To carry on getting packed up

At the same time the hyena clan decided that it was time to move into the semi – warm sunlight in the riverbed.


Image

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:56 pm 
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Thanks everyone for the comments. It was one of the highlights of our trip I must say.
We were really blessed this year :P



Day 17: Urikaruus to KTC:


It was 8.30 am when we nervously started packing the vehicle, with five, OK not so hungry hyenas in close proximity. :redface:

Whilst we were packing up, this familiar chat came to say goodbye!

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By just after 9am we had to leave camp, and head off. We said goodbye to Jacques, who was off on some leave and headed off.

We couldn’t believe that it was only 9am in the morning and we had already experienced so much.

The day had just begun!

Just after 14th borehole we came across the cheetah family from the other day. They were in the road on the move

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We had only left camp and the hyena sighting 30 minutes ago, and now we were looking at 4 stunning cheetahs

We watched them as they moved up onto the ridge on the left, and continued to look for breakfast.

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We watched them for a good while as they painstaking moved along the ridge

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They would move, settle down for a while, and then carry on.

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Climbing in and out of trees for a better view

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After about an hour, they eventually moved over the ridge and out of sight.


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We decided to carry on to KTC

_________________
See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


Last edited by GavinW on Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Christmas Trees in the Kalahari - KTP May 2012
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 4:46 pm 
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Thanks everyone for your comments. :D


JanaBeckett wrote:
21 more sleeps and I too will be there. If we see half of what you did I will be ecstatic!
:mrgreen: :mrgreen:

The trip to KTC continued

I often wonder what we are about to miss when we leave a predator sighting, even though in this case they seemed to have disappeared, one always wonders if they were only evading detection to make a kill a bit further on. It’s a chance you take I suppose.

Travelling further north, we soon came upon this Gemsbok, (and told her in no uncertain terms to watch out for hyenas, and not lie around too nonchantly ) :lol:

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Things seemed to be settling down to normal., and soon it was birds we were on the lookout for.
We spotted this Hoepoo

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A lilac breasted roller

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Some White Backed Vultures on a nest

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And this Swallow tailed Bee –eater before we got to Craig Lockhart

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Just after the waterhole, we came across a pile of lions sleeping under a tree.

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They were ultra settled, and we still needed to settle into our accommodation for the night, so we carried on and booked into our unit at the Kalahari Tented Camp

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See our trip reports:

Christmas Trees in the Kalahari May 2012

http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=62684

and

Kalahari Reflections March 2014


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Submitted by grannyb at 16:19:41 Submitted by grannyb at 20:16:39 Submitted by Anonymous at 19:16:08 Submitted by vinkie at 21:54:53