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 Post subject: Tobieo's Cubitje Quap and other battles in KTP March 2013
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:59 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Pretoria but on my way to KTP
It was once again time for my annual (sometimes even twice a year) visit to my favorite Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. I am currently experiencing a back problem and will be camping this year, two factors that do not necessary gel together too nicely. I also read that it is extremely dry (and hot) in the north western part of the country. What would I find on arrival and would my back survive the camping??

As usual I left early morning from Pretoria (3:00) and travelled via the N14 to Kuruman then north to Hotazel and on to Van Zylsrus. From there to Ashkam on the dirt road and on to Twee Rivieren. The road was not too bad except (what felt like) thousands of "stop and goes" The dirt road was in a fairly good condition. It very quicky became clear that all the reports on the drought was NOT exaggerating, in fact it was shocking to see the effect of the devastating drought.

Arriving at Twee Rivieren I quickly checked in, parked the caravan and left on a quick game drive to just get the cameras into action. Again quite a shock to see the effect of the drought.

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 Post subject: Re: Cubitje Quap and other battles in KTP
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 4:32 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Pretoria but on my way to KTP
Some further images of the current situation in the park, animals already taking some strain and the winter is still ahead of us…. :(

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 Post subject: Re: Cubitje Quap and other battles in KTP
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:57 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Pretoria but on my way to KTP
I spent the next 4 nights at Nossob. I am a very keen photographer with special interest in birds. I normally spend quite some time at waterholes taking pics of our avian friends. This year the state of the park and absence of general game resulted in me spending all my time at Nossob at Cubitje Quap waterhole. Unfortunately the construction of the waterhole is not very user (human) friendly as the sides are fairly high and do not leave a clear view of the water as such.

After pitching camp and unpacking everything I took a quick dip in the pool to cool of (temperature at midday was close to 40C) Late afternoon I left camp and travelled north. At Cubitje Quap I was met by some jackal at the waterhole and it very quickly became clear that they were not only there for a drink of water.

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Over the next few days I witnessed these jackal hunting the doves and Sand Grouse that came to drink at the waterhole. I first thought they had no chance of catching anything and will go hungry, words that I very quickly had to swallow. Most of the remainder of the trip report will be about the various battles at Cubitje Quap (and some other waterholes). Herewith some of the participants of the action witnessed over the next few days

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To add to the suspense we also had our aerial attacker on standby.
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Ready for the action?

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 Post subject: Re: Cubitje Quap and other battles in KTP
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:22 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Pretoria but on my way to KTP
The waterhole was dominated by a pair of jackal and each new jackal visitor had to "report" to the "owners" of the waterhole with the typical jackal way of lifting front leg in a very submissive way. After some sniffing the visitor would be allowed to have a drink. During the hunting and subsequent feeding some fights did break out, although not really serious.

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It was interesting to witness the approach of the individual jackal to catching their avian snack. The male jackal would ambush the birds and on their approach would leap into the air and grab them from the air. If this was not successful and the birds landed some distance away he would race up to them and grab them from the air as they fly off. The female jackal on the other hand was a water catcher. She would wait for them to settle down for a drink and then rush towards them and take them from the water. The waterhole has some gaps in the side, probably to allow smaller animals (e.g. tortoise) access to the water. The male used these as ambush site waiting for the sand grouse to land. The first morning the male caught 4 sand grouse and the female only one.

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Later the sand grouse caught on to the male's tactic and would land on the sand next to the waterhole and then walk to the water. He had to quickly change his approach but this made him less successful.

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Some more action to follow

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Apr 2014 Chobe
June 2014 Etosha
Nov / Jan 2014 KNP
March 2015 KTP


Last edited by Tobieo on Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Cubitje Quap and other battles in KTP
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 5:30 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Pretoria but on my way to KTP
It is difficult to post 4 days of "jackal hunting" without boring you all but here are some further jackal action

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 Post subject: Re: Cubitje Quap and other battles in KTP
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:27 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Pretoria but on my way to KTP
Some other action at Cubitje Quap was a Brown Hyena that came for a drink early one morning. He was very skittish and ran off without drinking when I accidentally bumped my camera body against the steering wheel. Luckily he quickly came back and spent some time drinking

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The Lanner Falcons were also very active and made regular pass by's trying to take some doves or sand grouse. It is amazing to sit and watch the birds at any waterhole and then hear this whooshing sound the Lanner Falcon makes as he dives on his first pass by, it still gives me goose pimples just thinking of it.

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On one pass by the Lanner Falcon got a sand grouse which he probably did not get a good grip on. He landed to kill the sand grouse but before he could take off to enjoy the meal the jackal rushed up and robbed him (all this unfortunately behind some shrubs so no photo :x

I was also amazed at the number of smaller birds that the Lanners took out of the air and almost swallow whole (I imagine) as they would turn around and come back for another one on the next pass by. One killed a weaver on his flight towards me but lost control and the little bird landed +- 2m in front of me. It almost felt as if he was offering me a bite to eat as well. :redface:

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March 2015 KTP


Last edited by Tobieo on Thu Mar 28, 2013 11:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Cubitje Quap and other battles in KTP
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 7:56 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2009 9:09 pm
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Location: Pretoria but on my way to KTP
peterpiper wrote:
Great pics all round but I just love the Lanner going in sideways after the doves. Great pic.

Lanners can't fly with a Sandgrouse in my experience and everytime they grab one here, the Jackals immediately give chase and always end up stealing it.
Keep posting lots more pics please!

:clap: :clap: :clap:


You are probably right, in the 4 days I witnessed 3 sand grouse been taken. The one landed very close to where he took the sand grouse and the jackal robbed him. The second one managed to fly +- 500m before landing, jackal in pursuit. He flew of again and jackal returned empty handed. I could not see if he was carrying something. The last one managed to catch and fly off while the jackal were very busy catching some themselves. He probably managed to find a safe spot to enjoy his catch.

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 Post subject: Re: Cubitje Quap and other battles in KTP
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:07 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2009 9:09 pm
Posts: 510
Location: Pretoria but on my way to KTP
There was a family of Bateleurs that shared their beauty with me on most afternoons. It might be that the heat forced them to the waterhole but I prefer to think they were just showing off. It is such a pity that the waterhole is constructed in such a way that you do not have a clear view of the water surface and the action around it. It makes it just so difficult to get clean decent shots without any object obstructing some of the birds.

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There were also some other raptors that visited but I will save those for later :tongue:

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 Post subject: Re: Cubitje Quap and other battles in KTP
Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 4:46 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Pretoria but on my way to KTP
This next posting is actually very sad but demonstrates the crueler side of nature but which actually is only all about survival.

After returning to Nossob one morning from my daily early morning trek to Cubitje Quap I decided to go and sit at the hide. On arrival one of the visitors in the hide indicated that there were two water logged sand house in the waterhole. They probably came for a drink and as the waterhole is built without a slope or shallow end they somehow got drenched and could not get out. The one had already drowned (from exhaustion) and the small body was floating around in the waterhole. Although the second one was barely still alive it tried it's best to climb out the sides. Everytime an animal came for a drink it would struggle to get out and in the process spook the animals (including some emaciated jackal) The behavior of the jackal was very strange, more so just returning from Cubitje Quap where the jackal was doing extremely well looking after themselves by catching sand grouse. The condition of the Nossob jackal is probably because he is not an opportunist.

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After some time two black crows arrived and the one was immediately interested in the poor sand grouse. He moved around and grabbed the sand grouse by the beak and tried to pull it out of the water. Now the sand grouse was struggling to NOT get out. The crow tried a few times but after a final effort gave up and flew off.

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Then some secretary birds came for a drink. One noticed the sand grouse in the water, approached very carefully and then gave it a few good tumps and unceremoniously pulled the (by now) dead sand grouse out of the water, after dropping it a few times and ate it bit by bit.

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Apr 2014 Chobe
June 2014 Etosha
Nov / Jan 2014 KNP
March 2015 KTP


Last edited by Tobieo on Sat Mar 30, 2013 9:11 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Cubitje Quap and other battles in KTP
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 5:15 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Pretoria but on my way to KTP
Some other visitors to Cubitje Quap
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This crow joined the hunt
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This dove has a serious problem with it's beak

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This is what the jackal ambush looked like

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with some of the ambushed

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and some of the fights for more food

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Some making up again

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Finally some resting before it all starts again tomorrow
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 Post subject: Re: Cubitje Quap and other battles in KTP
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:06 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2009 9:09 pm
Posts: 510
Location: Pretoria but on my way to KTP
Hi everyone, those that know me better will be aware of the fact that firstly I am a nature lover and this has over the years developed my second passion which is wildlife photography. I like to share both passions with my family and all my friends. All your comments are highly appreciated and I am humbled by it. It makes doing a TR so much more rewarding and a great pleasure.

Unfortunately I do not get out into the bush enough (does anyone??) but whenever I visit a Sanparks Reserve I will try my best to do a TR. I am still working very hard at improving my photography further and are attending courses and workshops (some of these get me into the bush :dance: )

Unfortunately I had to cut my last visit to Kgalagadi short due to the extreme drought and my back problem. This TR is therefor nearing the end…. :( I am so glad that it has rained in KTP this last week as I was seriously considering moving my planned visit in Oct / Nov to next year). :dance:

I luckily already have a few further trips planned for the rest of the year (not all to Sanparks) :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Cubitje Quap and other battles in KTP
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 5:14 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2009 9:09 pm
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Location: Pretoria but on my way to KTP
AS proof that I have seen other animals (not a lot :cry: ) I share the following with you.

One morning on the way to Cubitje Quap I notice this funny looking animal quite far off. I was convinced it was a horse and obviously could not believe this. Getting closer I saw it was a magnificent eland bull

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This springbok with a pigmentation problem was noticed at Craig Lockhart. It appeared as if the others were aware of her appearance as she was constantly chased away and only could drink just before the herd left the waterhole.

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Yes I know but some more images of jackal.
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One night next to the fire the images in the dark fascinated me and I tried to play around with the camera
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June 2014 Etosha
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 Post subject: Re: Cubitje Quap and other battles in KTP
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:14 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2009 9:09 pm
Posts: 510
Location: Pretoria but on my way to KTP
This TR is now on it's last leg and I leave you with a few last images
It was very dry with very little grazing left for the animals. Obviously this resulted in a lot of dust
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Some smaller birds braved the conditions
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Some steenbok did not migrate to Botswana
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A few lone gemsbok also stayed to wait for the rain

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A vulture waiting for an opportunistic meal
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This springbok could not believe his eyes (or rescue it) when the drenched sand grouse swam around in the Nossob waterholeImage

I had some fun times at Cubitje Quap

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and at last a small herd of gemsbok

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with a thirsty wildebeest
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A look out
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and unfortunately the end
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until next time :yaya:

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June 2014 Etosha
Nov / Jan 2014 KNP
March 2015 KTP


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 Post subject: Re: Cubitje Quap and other battles in KTP
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:17 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Pretoria but on my way to KTP
In appreciation of all your kind comments, some more images (of the MANY that I took, thank you digital :P )

Firstly just a quick pic to prove that it really was not that cold

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One evening while camping in Nossob I was woken up at 2:00 by a hell of a racket. When I came to my senses I realized it was caused by hyena and lion fighting or just plain hating one another. I quickly donned a pair of shorts, grabbed my camera and flash (not attached) from the car and rushed to the hide (the sound came from that side) As I reached the gate it sounded as if the fight was just the other side of the fence. I only then realized in my haste to get there, I left without a torch. There I was, camera in one hand flash in other and the batteries in my pocket but no way to see how (pos vs. neg) to insert the batteries. To cut a long story short a very kind lady who was also trying to see what was going on quickly helped me with her torch (thank you mam :clap: ) By the time I was ready the lion and hyena fight had moved towards the old hanger side of camp. I ran along the fence (following a gentleman with a torch :redface: ) and every now and then tried to take a photo. It is difficult, if not impossible, for a camera to focus in the complete dark on moving objects (that I did not knew the location of) This is the only pic that is vaguely recognizable. It looks as if the hyena has a wound on the neck

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They moved towards the Bitterpan exit gate in the camping area and then quickly moved off in different directions

Although I did not get any images from the fight, just being there and hearing them taking one another on was so special and I am truly grateful for that. I will in future leave all my equipment AND the torch ready for action :wall: I (and half the camp) returned to our respective beds and lay listening to the hyenas complaining about the fight…..

Unfortunately this guy tried to wink at me (taken from Nossob hide)

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Another one of my airborne friends (not a good photo but it clearly demonstrates how the jackal managed to grab them from the air)

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Some near misses

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and even closer ones

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and one that got away

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It really was dry with very little grazing

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but the park received some good rain after my departure (Thank you God)

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 Post subject: Re: Cubitje Quap and other battles in KTP
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 12:54 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Not for sensitive viewers

The conditions in Kgalagadi was so harsh (before the rain) that you needed this to survive (figuratively speaking though)

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