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 Post subject: Guinea Pig Going to the Northern Cape slowly. Sep'12
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:42 am 
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Many moons ago my idea of a holiday changed irrevocably when I saw the first episode of the legendary travelling show "Going Nowhere Slowly". They had 3 travellers who would look for an old Valiant or something similar (who can forget the iconic red Valiant of the first series!), buy it at a ridiculously low price and head in a direction. Main aim - getting there slowly, seeing as much of the local life as they could. If the car broke down along the way, which it often did, that became part of the trip. Since then I go on road trips, not holidays.

In 12 weeks we'll be doing just such a road trip. Better vehicle (probably a Volkswagen Polo Sedan) but the same idea. Our trip will commence in Krugersdorp with a lunchbreak in Vryburg. If we get to roadworks, so be it. I plan on capturing rural life and life in general in South Africa. Expect a photo of roadworks. Something I've been missing for a while is an iconic meal in South Africa - I haven't had a decent SPUR meal in a very long time. Vryburg has one... A first for Duco too. Then on to a specially chosen spot just outside Kuruman on the road to Upington for a first night in the Northern Cape dunes. Why on earth go there slowly, I can almost hear the questions and frowns? I've never been in the Northern Cape. Why rush through towns I've only heard about.

Next day the same leisurely early drive to Upington where we'll do some important shopping and onto a place I've been wanting to see ever since I was a child - the Augrabies Falls. No, we're not concerned about the apparent lack of mammals, we want the small stuff and the moonscapes. I want to get to Riemvasmaak and will make sure I get a proper touristy photo showing I've been there done that. Two nightdrives will hopefully take care of some of the nocturnal animal life in the Park.

Then the big one - on 16 December we'll be travelling to Kgalagadi. To me it still means The Kalahari Gemsbok National Park. Red dunes. Nothing. I've never been there, have NO idea what to expect, will be doing the safe roads for a first visit, but can't wait. Urikaruus the first night, Kalahari Tented Camp after that, followed by Kieliekrankie and last Twee Rivieren.

We'll be travelling back to Gauteng in the same leisurely way where we'll spend Christmas South African style. The next part take us "Going Nowhere Slowly" into Southern Kwazulu Natal for some beach time and hiking in the Oribi Gorge, the Drakensberg and Golden Gate at the Basotho Cultural Village.

Seems like a lot of driving, but we're trying to keep to 400 - 500km on the road per day, with plenty stops. Where DuQues goes for wildlife and bird photography, I've developed an interest in landscaping, life and buildings. Anything even remotely looking like a possible photograph is good enough to stop for.

This will be the start of out trip report in images. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Going to the Northern Cape slowly.
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:19 pm 
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Even the "Padkos" is done in the traditional way this time, Sharifa! :D

Instead of buying rusks and cookies and whatever else, I asked my sister, a mean rusk maker!, to bake us some of her home-made muesli rusks. My mom is baking real ginger biscuits and all sorts of other goodies. Just like I remember from the old days. Of course we're repaying any costs made by them in the process.

We'll be looking for "Padstalle" and little local businesses to try some real local goodies. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Going to the Northern Cape slowly.
Unread postPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 1:55 pm 
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What is not going to be traditional about this report?

First of all, there is likely to be very little text, unless GP has itchy fingers. ;)

And then the photos.... Many we will not be able to post here, as you can see with GP's intentions. Farms, roads, statues, roadstalls, you name it.
Will you see lions, leopards, cheetah, and such? Well, we will have to see them of course, but if the photos of them are up to par some will pop up.
But I have a nice little toy that I use a lot:
Image

You can see that it says "Close up lens". It simply screws onto my 100-400 and then, depending on the zoomfactor, I can make photos of little animals, full size! Like this:

Image

(The little fly is maybe 12 millimeter long in real life.)

Plenty little things will be photographed. I bought a little UV light to be able to hunt scorpions, hope that pans out, and then there are the startrails of course. Plantlife, small and large will get a lot of attention.

As you can see no real plans for the big animals, unless we see an elephant in KTP.

And birdlovers will quite likely want to see the photos, we are both birders, and will go from the Northern Cape to Gauteng, KZN and Golden Gate. So a wide swath of possible species we will photograph!

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 Post subject: Re: Going to the Northern Cape slowly.
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:47 am 
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avon vosloo wrote:
GP, way too much planning for a going nowhere slowly already :wink:

Those "Padstalle" nearly bankrupted me. :lol:



Agree on the way too much planning. :lol: But that's part of the fun.

I'm a bit scared of those "padstalle".... I've been told by regular visitors to stop whenever we see one, even been told the names and locations of some. I know myself.... I may leave with the same sentiment, AV. :lol:

As a sworn KNP visitor, I have certain traditions that go with a visit, whether camping or bungalowing. One of them, getting up at 4 when all is still quiet. Making coffee and having an early morning rusk, well rusks, while the bush wakes up. Listening to a lion, zebra, hyena or leopard. Or those last moments at night after dinner while the fire dies down.

I hope to have the same memories after leaving Augrabies and KTP. Those feel good ones...


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 Post subject: Re: Going to the Northern Cape slowly.
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:09 am 
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I was unintentionally reminded of this topic by Jazil yesterday. :lol:
I'm bad at writing this kind of thing. There's always so much to share but I don't seem to find the time always and FB is so much handier. Will try my best this time. 8)

In 6 weeks' time we'll be well into South African airspace by now. We'll probably be having breakfast somewhere over Louis Trichardt. I'll try to sneak a photo from the air if I can. Strange, as happy as you are to be home, you're so dog tired by then, you just want to get off the plane - NOW! :evil:

We'll have some internet connection at my parents' place but for the rest, maybe and in many cases definitely not. No live updates on the forum - Trip Report to follow after. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Going to the Northern Cape slowly.
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 8:35 am 
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13 days before we arrive in South Africa. :D

Everything's been planned, all arranged, now the long wait.

An interesting bit of advice - I am completely unfamiliar with the Northern Cape so out of curiosity went onto Google Maps, Satellite view and followed the entire route on there. :lol: I know it's not recent, but if it wasn't for that, I would've gotten lost in Upington looking for the P&P. At least it gave me a pretty good idea what the towns look like etc. Very handy.


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 Post subject: Re: Going to the Northern Cape slowly.
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:36 am 
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I'm going to add two interesting bits of info received about Kgalagadi. 8)

The first I've already mentioned elsewhere but putting it here for reference. There is a brand new shop 5km outside the gate at Twee Rivieren. Could be handy for shopping,,,, Will have a look when we're passing by.

Then last night I was told about ANOTHER one which some of my Facebook friends who've been at Mata Mata before don't know about, so it is a recent addition to the shops too. Simply ask at the border post to walk over to the Namibian side.... Nice walk, shop has local goodies plus lamb chops and Springbok..... :D


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 Post subject: Re: Going to the Northern Cape slowly.
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:42 am 
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As a newbie to the area and escpecially Augrabies and Kgalagadi, I'm looking forward to this trip tremendously.

When I plan a KNP trip I try to avoid reading what people say about it. There are always complaints and unfortunately I know by now, valid ones too. :lol: That's part of the KNP experience. Just ignore them, bite down and go, preferably to the North.

Augrabies and Kgalagadi on the other hand is a different story. I read reports from people just back and still there right now, and I have not seen a single complaint comparing to those for KNP. Yes, water and ice seems to be a slight problem at the moment, but you're in the middle of nowhere - make provision for it. I have only read positive things about both, so am thinking if that's for real?! Are they both such gems?

If so, we're tentatively planning a trip from Namibia via 4x4 with rooftop tent, including Richtersveld and Namaqua. That's a huge step for me. After years of convincing me to go to the Arid parks, it seems very likely at the moment. 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Going to the Northern Cape slowly.
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:13 am 
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:lol: Oh yes, the infamous fridges....

We've been trying to plan around that one, will soon find out if we'll be okay. As somebody told me 2 weeks ago, by the end of the trip, take out the meat, turn your nose downwind and plop it onto the fire. :twisted: We will have an electrical cooler in the car but ja, it only works up to an ambient temp of 18 outside..... :lol:

I honestly wonder what stories I'm going to come back with.


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 Post subject: Re: Going to the Northern Cape slowly.
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:11 am 
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What a difference to a week from now - it just started snowing in Den Haag. 2.1 degrees outside.

Man! Next week can't come soon enough. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Going to the Northern Cape slowly.
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:49 pm 
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With 4 days to go, I doubt there is anything more we can learn about the parks that we don't know by now. :D So I'm going quiet, getting everything in order and all that.
Thanks for all the advice and we'll get back to you all with all the news and info somewhere in January next year.

See you all in just over a month. 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Going to the Northern Cape slowly.
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:57 am 
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Anne-marie, I've been on the verge of exploding whole week. :lol: WE have on the verge of exploding! Just so much to do before we leave.

Got up at 5:30 this morning for my last day at work and, on cue, it started snowing like crazy. Den Haag slowly turning white and much more expected today.

Can't wait to leave this madness behind.....


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 Post subject: Re: Going to the Northern Cape slowly.
Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:51 pm 
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So here we are in Twee Rivieren for our last day. I don't want to leave.....

I've been converted. Just a few short thoughts, starting with Augrabies. One of the most spectacular places I've ever seen in South Africa. Nothing more to say, the photo's will tell the story.

Then Kgalagadi. It blew me away. Stunning park with even more stunning sightings. It started off very quiet and exploded during the last 3 days. A short list :

20 Individual lions in TWO days!! 26 if you double count the pride we saw twice.
Brown Hyena
12 Suricates in 2 sightings
5 individual Cheetah in 3 sightings, 7 in all with a second sighting of the Rooiputs cheetah. The third made me shake like a leaf. Cheetah kill - Springbok lamb.
Countless Bat-eared Foxes
2 Cape Foxes
Honeybadger with young
African Wild Cat
Leopard
Warthog - never knew the park had them!
Giraffe as far South as Twee Rivieren!
Kudu
Tons of general game
Many new bird ticks


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 Post subject: Re: Going to the Northern Cape slowly.
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:58 pm 
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Hi there everybody! 8)

Just an update on a quiet lazy Sunday afternoon. So far it's been a trip of lifers. We are so happy with the results. For me a ton of new birds. In short, as we progressed:

Lesser Flamingos - Delareyville (Lifer for us both)
Scaly feathered finches and sociable weavers - All over the Northern Cape (New for me)
Sclater's Lark - Augrabies (lifer for us both with photo proof!)
Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk - All over Augrabies and KTP (New for me)
Ludwig's bustard - KTP (New for me)
Common Ostrich - KTP (TICK!! 8) )
White Faced Scops Owl - Kalahari Tented Camp KTP (Lifer for us both)
Barn Owl - Kieliekrankie (Lifer for us both)
Spotted Eagle Owl - Kij Kij in KTP (Believe me, I've never seen one, not even in KNP)
Dusky Sunbird - Augrabies
Lanner Falcons - KTP (At last I can definitely tick them)
Namaqua and Double-banded Sandgrouse - KTP and Augrabies (New ticks for me)
Alpine Swift - Augrabies (New tick for us both)
Red-throated Wryneck - Suikerbosrand (Lifer for Duco)
Northern Black Korhaan - All over the Northern Cape
Black-faced Waxbill - KTP at Dalkeith (Lifer for us both)
Shaft-tailed Whydah - KTP at Dalkeith (Lifer for us both)
Orange River White-eye - Augrabies (Got the little b..... at last!)
Black-chested Prinia - KTP at Urikaruus (New tick for Duco)
Swallow-tailed Bee-eater - KTP (New for me)
Striped Kingfisher - KTP (Lifer for us both)
Cardinal Woodpecker - KTP (Lifer for Duco)

And probably some more to come in Natal in the next week.

Mammals we did very well with as well:

Brown Hyena - Lifer for me
Suricates - KTP and the biggest surprise, Suikerbosrand!! The couple before us actually asked us if they'd seen right.
Striped Polecat - Twee Rivieren KTP (Lifer for us both)
Cape Fox - Kieliekrankie KTP (Lifer for us both)
Bat-eared foxes - KTP (New for me)
Barking Gecko - KTP Heard, seen AND photographed! (Lifer for me)
Puffadder - Namibia (New for me)

Cheetah kill - full run, chase and kill at Rooiputs KTP (Lifer sighting for us both)

And a goosebump lion sighting at Kij Gamies waterhole KTP. 7 playful lions, all to ourselves for at least 90 minutes.

Photo's to follow later!


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 Post subject: Re: Going to the Northern Cape slowly.
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:03 pm 
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Okay, just one to whet the appetite.....

Image

KTC sunset... Think of it as the current year slowly moving away too.... Happy New Year!

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Arriving currently: The photos from our trip! Overhere! :yaya:

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c


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