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 Post subject: Re: The Kalahari Unplugged
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:24 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 450
Location: Grahamstown
DAY 19 continued.....

From the camping ground we moved to the day visitors' picnic spot and what a surprise - this area had been tidied up. Last year we were so disappointed because the picnic spot was in a real mess which seemed so unnecessary. What a good move this was because we had hardly settled down when a Pygmy falcon flew in and perched on a tree right above us. I have had an ongoing battle for years to get decent pics of this little raptor so here was my chance. And what a show-off he was. He stayed in the tree, shifted positions so that I could get decent light on him and when I had taken more than enough photos he disappeared into the distance. I was really chuffed so excuse the over-kill of photos. A few years ago we came across a PF right next to the road in Mokala NP. It had caught a mouse and was sitting on a branch in beautiful evening light eating the mouse - the chance that I had been waiting for for years. Well no sooner had I pointed my camera out the window when a clown in a zooty 4x4 roared past us and when the dust settled the PF was gone. Was I mad - YES.

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How often do we take things like this for granted - these camelthorn trees are real icons of the Kalahari. One has to marvel at the resiliance to be able to survive in this thirstland.

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We later headed back up the Nossob to Rooiputs spotting this PCG on the ground. We thought that we may see a Honey badger in the vicinity but not to be

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

29/12/14 - 05/1/15 MZNP
02-07/4/15 Addo
26/6 - 5/7/15 MZNP
4 - 7/8/15 Richtersveld NP
17 - 26/8/15 Kgalagadi NP


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 Post subject: Re: The Kalahari Unplugged
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:37 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 450
Location: Grahamstown
DAY 19 continued.....

We went back to Rooiputs where relaxed and soaked up the tranquility - pity about the noise from the lodge builders though. The view up the valley from site no 4 is really stunning. You have this all to yourself

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The sociable weavers found something under the tree that interested them

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To be continued.....

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

29/12/14 - 05/1/15 MZNP
02-07/4/15 Addo
26/6 - 5/7/15 MZNP
4 - 7/8/15 Richtersveld NP
17 - 26/8/15 Kgalagadi NP


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 Post subject: Re: The Kalahari Unplugged
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:49 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 450
Location: Grahamstown
DAY 19 continued.....

We decided to take a slow late afternoon drive up to our favourite picnic site - Melkvlei. Before reaching Kij Kij we saw a Korhaan and a lonely Tortoise

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We stopped at Kij Kij for a while hoping that a few animals would come down for an evening drink. This Red Haartebeest hung around for a while and seemed more intent on digging in the sand than having a drink

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To be continued.....

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

29/12/14 - 05/1/15 MZNP
02-07/4/15 Addo
26/6 - 5/7/15 MZNP
4 - 7/8/15 Richtersveld NP
17 - 26/8/15 Kgalagadi NP


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 Post subject: Re: The Kalahari Unplugged
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:56 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 450
Location: Grahamstown
DAY 19 continued.....

Soon after passing the Melkvlei waterhole there is a natural waterhole on the left hand side. We have never seen any water here in all our trips to KTP. Well surprise surprise - the plentiful rains had filled this with lovely fresh water!

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Here we found a large number of White-backed Vultures who had clearly enjoyed a late afternoon wash. They were all over the place and seemed quite content with our company

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Quite a few of them had already flown up into a nearby tree in an effort to catch some of the warmth from the afternoon sun to dry them off a bit

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Just before reaching Melkvlei Picnic spot we saw this beaut of a Kori Bustard

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To be continued.....

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

29/12/14 - 05/1/15 MZNP
02-07/4/15 Addo
26/6 - 5/7/15 MZNP
4 - 7/8/15 Richtersveld NP
17 - 26/8/15 Kgalagadi NP


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 Post subject: Re: The Kalahari Unplugged
Unread postPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:26 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 450
Location: Grahamstown
Day 19 continued.....

I suppose many of you thought I had disappeared! Thank you all for your comments while we were away. Our trip to Wilderness NP, Gamkaskloof Dam and Karoo NP was most enjoyable - trip report will follow at some stage.

Now back to Day19 of our trip.

We continued up to Melkvlei Picnic Site and it was quite noticeable that the valley was greening up slightly after the abundant rains that had fallen over Easter.

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This was a whole new experience for us because we had never had the privilege of being able to spend time at Melkvlei in the late afternoon because of the long drives back to where we were staying. Rooiputs, being much closer, afforded us this honour - I say honour because it is hard to describe the absolute silence and peacefulness that we experienced here in the amber shades of the late afternoon sunshine. Here are a few pics of Melkvlei as we experienced it

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The ambience was so good that we decided to enjoy a sundowner here before heading for home

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The "son was trekking water" so we were soon heading back down the Nossob valley in order to get to camp before curfew time. Along the way we saw this herd of Springbok grazing peacefully next to the road

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The scenery was once again breathtaking

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We were soon back at Rooiputs.....

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.....just in time to enjoy another Kalahari sunset.....

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.....before settling in for another great night under the dancing stars

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Sitting at home writing the report about this great day in the Kalahari brought back memories of a poem that I had read whilst staying at a B & B in Upington. It was written by Paula Draycon from Germany...

HARSH PLACE OF MANY COLOURS

It is Africa. It fills me with a deep sense of passion for a land and her wildlife. It moves me while sitting on a dune, looking over dry river beds. It has provided me with heart-stopping moments as lions killed. It has placed leopards and cheetahs on my trail. It had endeared me to the little creatures of the desert sands and amazed me as eagles swept the sky

It is a place which still refreshes the soul, where man is very much in the minority and where the land remains essentially as it was originally architected by our Creator.

It is wild, it is free and it is home to so many of our beloved animals. It knows many colours and survives harsh conditions. It is my favourite place. It is the Kalahari....

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

29/12/14 - 05/1/15 MZNP
02-07/4/15 Addo
26/6 - 5/7/15 MZNP
4 - 7/8/15 Richtersveld NP
17 - 26/8/15 Kgalagadi NP


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 Post subject: Re: The Kalahari Unplugged
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:56 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 450
Location: Grahamstown
DAY 20

We got up early because we had booked to do the Leeudril 4x4 trail and were keen to be there first. We did this trail in 2012 and really enjoyed it so we set out with much anticipation. We soon reached the turn-off

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We were immediately struck by how dry this area was compared to last year. Here is a pic taken when we did the trail in 2012 and it is easy to see how lush the vegetation was. Anyway the Kalahari is a place of many moods and were were fortunate to experience both extremes!

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Soon after cresting the first dune we saw this Lanner Falcon sitting low down in a dead tree

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Next up were some very skittish Gemsbok.....

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.....followed by this Spike-heeled Lark

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

29/12/14 - 05/1/15 MZNP
02-07/4/15 Addo
26/6 - 5/7/15 MZNP
4 - 7/8/15 Richtersveld NP
17 - 26/8/15 Kgalagadi NP


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 Post subject: Re: The Kalahari Unplugged
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:03 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 450
Location: Grahamstown
DAY 20 continued.....

We soon reached the Gemsbok waterhole. This is the ultimate stop if you would like to enjoy absolute solitude. There were a number of beautiful yellow flowers in full bloom which made this the perfect spot for a cup of coffee.

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Here is a blommetjie of another kind...

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

29/12/14 - 05/1/15 MZNP
02-07/4/15 Addo
26/6 - 5/7/15 MZNP
4 - 7/8/15 Richtersveld NP
17 - 26/8/15 Kgalagadi NP


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 Post subject: Re: The Kalahari Unplugged
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:25 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 450
Location: Grahamstown
Day 20 continued.....

WE moved on - the dunes now be came much steeper and it was quite clear that this trail does get abused because the steep sections of the road showed clear signs of wheel spin - people don't seem to know that this is a 4x4 trail! The scenery was spectacular

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Apart from a few Gemsbok there was not much to see. The road flattens out somewhat as you near the Auob valley. The viewpont at the end of the trail gives a lovely vista of the valley. We stopped up there and saw a few vehicles parked along the road at the Houmoed waterhole. We scanned the area with the binnos but could not see anything. We proceeded down into the valley and drove towards the 3-car traffic jam and soon saw what the attraction was. These two fellows had nodded off on nthe far side of the valley and appeared to have no intention of moving. We decided to sit it out a bit because we had seen relatively few lions on the trip. After a while one of the brothers got up (the shade had moved) and moved back into the shade. Magnificent creatures.....

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One last cursory glance and he was back in dreamland so we decided to move on

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

29/12/14 - 05/1/15 MZNP
02-07/4/15 Addo
26/6 - 5/7/15 MZNP
4 - 7/8/15 Richtersveld NP
17 - 26/8/15 Kgalagadi NP


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 Post subject: Re: The Kalahari Unplugged
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:32 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 450
Location: Grahamstown
DAY 20 continued.....

We decided to head up the road as far as Auchterlonie where we would have a sandwich or two. There are a number of these interesting caves on the eastern side of the Auob. I am sure these caves must be the perfect sanctuary for a number of animals, especially Leopard.

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This Blue Wildebeest was walking all on its own along the skyline

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After a good leg stretch and something for the "inner man" we headed back down the valley hoping to catch another glimpse of the lion brothers. The north and south views of the auob taken from Auchterlonie are beautiful, especially now that the valley was greening up after the rain

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The lions were still at Houmoed but had not moved at all - typical. The area around the waterhole was very dry

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We headed back to Rooiputs with a heavy heart because this was to be our last night at the great spot. We would be sad to beak up our little home in the morning

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Just before sunset we decided that it would be fitting to drink a toast to a great stay at Rooiputs - CHEERS

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

29/12/14 - 05/1/15 MZNP
02-07/4/15 Addo
26/6 - 5/7/15 MZNP
4 - 7/8/15 Richtersveld NP
17 - 26/8/15 Kgalagadi NP


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 Post subject: Re: The Kalahari Unplugged
Unread postPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:25 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 450
Location: Grahamstown
DAY 21

It was with great reluctance that we started to break camp because not only did we feel that our stay at Rooiputs had been too short but also the fact that this would be our last day in the park. There was, however, soon excitement - these two critters dashed out from under our Oztent when we moved it. The scorpion virtually brushed my hand - he was not a happy chappy. I do not know if this spider could have caused me any damage but I would imagine the scorpion could have!

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We took our time and then meandered down to Twee Rivieren where we would be spending our last night. We found a nice site where we unhitched our trailer before heading up the Auob valley for one last drive. The highlight of this drive was witnessing an epic battle between two Springbok rams. The loser appeared to have a badly damaged front leg which would hopefully have healed. He was soundly beaten though!

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The strength and stamina of these two springbok was phenominal. We headed back to camp and decided to spend the rest of the day exploring the dunes within the camp. There are a few lovely walks which are well worth tackling. The wind came up and blew a gale which spoiled our last night but what the hell - we had had a trip that will be etched in our memories forever. It was an early night - long haul tomorrow....

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

29/12/14 - 05/1/15 MZNP
02-07/4/15 Addo
26/6 - 5/7/15 MZNP
4 - 7/8/15 Richtersveld NP
17 - 26/8/15 Kgalagadi NP


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 Post subject: Re: The Kalahari Unplugged
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:11 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 pm
Posts: 450
Location: Grahamstown
DAY 22

It was an early rise an a quick pack-up because we only had our RTT to fold away. This Bulbul was perched nearby to say good morning to us

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When I got back from my shower this "Mossie" was going about his business. He reminded me of what I had just been up to in the bathroom....

...wash under the arms

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...wash your "nether ends"

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... and wash your neck

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When that is all done you feel like a new man again

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Sadly it all had come to an end. We checked out, comforted by the fact that we would be back again - most likely in 2015 and of course God willing!. The red sand dunes reminded us that we were still in the Kalahari as we headed out south

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I wonder when this guy visited the park?

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A new accommodation establishment had sprung up just south of Twee Rivieren - looks nice but could never be the same as being otherside the fence in KTP

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On the way to Upington we saw some tame animals and also patches of beautiful flowers

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We reached our over-night stop just outside Britstown by 16h00. The facilities were really clean and well-kept - the perfect stopover en-route to the Kalahari. Both camping

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and chalets are available

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Well the time has come for me to bid all you wonderful forumites adieu. I trust you enjoyed this report which was not only about the animal sightings but also about the wonderful experience that one can have in the Kalahari. If you visit this area and allow the Kalahari to bring all that it has to offer to you you will never have a dull moment. The lions can roar, the birds can sing but it is the silence that talks to you. Cheers and all the best :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:

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

29/12/14 - 05/1/15 MZNP
02-07/4/15 Addo
26/6 - 5/7/15 MZNP
4 - 7/8/15 Richtersveld NP
17 - 26/8/15 Kgalagadi NP


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