Skip to content

SANParks.org Forums

View unanswered posts | View active topics






Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  Page 2 of 7
 [ 102 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 7  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:49 am 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:44 am
Posts: 557
Location: Pretoria
OK are you guys on board?

Day 1 - 3rd October

After departed Pretoria the drive went well to Kuruman for our first night stop except the stop and goes. We hit 5 of them along the way which we did expect but caused quite a delay.

We eventually got into our accommodation for the night around 3h45pm. We booked dinner at the restaurant as we did not want to unpack anything from the van for a one night stop. Dinner was nice and after showering we got into bed by 10pm.

Day 2 - 4th October

We got up in a good mood as today we would drive through the gate at TR into KTP. We were up fairly early at 5h30am and enjoyed our first early morning coffee of the trip. We went to breakfast and started the van for the 500km drive.

No stop and goes today so we made good progress and reached Uptington in good time. I dropped SO at the shops to get a few last minute items while i went to fill with fuel. This did not take long and we departed ready for our adventure.

It was now getting hot and we were both glad we had re-gassed the aircon in the van and stated we think we are going to use it a lot. We eventually entered KTP at 1pm after completing the normal check in processes. We both had a good giggle at the permit and thought how are the going to write in our permit as after around 5 days it would be full.

First stop was the petrol station to fill up with diesel and then deflate the tyres to 1.4b in the back and 1.2b in the front. While i was doing this SO went to the shop to buy some ice, water and wood. The next activity was to unpack the books, get the GPS sorted, cameras, back seat layout, IPAD for Roberts etc. which we managed to complete in fairly good time.

We eventually entered the park itself around 1h45pm. For those who have followed our previous reports we utilise the first afternoon to feel out or surrounding and to basically start the distressing process we do not take any photo's unless it is something unusual.

This trip is no different so we proceed slowly to Urikaruus where we will be spending our first night in the park. On the way we spot the normal KTP animals and have 2 separate sightings of cheetah. One group of 3 and an individual - we would get to know these cheetah well over the coming 3 weeks. Both these sights the cheetah were in the shade on the far side of the river bed so no real photo opportunity. SO took only one photo just to check camera settings.

Image

We arrived there around 4h30pm and were allocated unit number 1. This is the first time in all the years that we have had a unit other than number 4.

As it is only a one night stop we unpack very little and just relax for the rest of the late afternoon and evening. This wilderness camp is very nice for photos but the wind had now picked up and we knew what that meant - a quiet night.

We were provided correct not even Charlie can out. We had some items in the fridge we needed to use early in the trip as the freezer was full. Therefore tonight was chicken pieces on the braai on fresh rolls with salad. We used pepper, salt and fresh lemon as the marinade which ended up simple but nice. Drinks for the night were gin and tonic for me and archers with lemonade for SO.

After a very chilled start to the trip we were in bed at 9h30pm.

_________________
2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:04 am 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:44 am
Posts: 557
Location: Pretoria
Day 3 - 5th October

We woke up nice and early and went down stairs and made our coffee and sat on the deck at about 5h15am. It was still early October so the light had not risen yet. As we sat in the semi darkness the birds started to awaken and entertain us with a chorus of sound.

The waterhole was quiet but is was a dream first morning in the park. We very slowly packed the few items into the van and unfortunately had to depart as we had a long days drive to Gharagab. In October the gate opens at 6am but we were enjoying the morning so much we only departed at 6h35am after collecting our permit.

The plan for the day was fairly simple drive south then over the upper dune road and then north. Not everyone manages their trip the same but again today SO and me use the long drive to assess our surroundings and start to take some photos but the main objective is to continue the distressing process which normally takes us a few days. The reason we do this is for us anyway to fully enjoy KTP we need to get all our current life challenges to the back of our minds.

Our first nice sighting of the drive was:

Steenbok

Reproduction and Development
Gestation period: 170 days. Litter size: 1. Weaning: 3 months. Sexual maturity: Females as early as 6-7 months, males begin to mature around 9 months. Life span: 10-12 years.

Baby steenbok may be born throughout the year, and can stand and walk just a few minutes after birth. However, the infant is usually hidden away by its mother for a few weeks before beginning to follow her around.

Ecology and Behaviour
Steenbok tend to be most active during the day, although when temperatures peak at midday they may seek refuge in shade. This species appears to live in monogamous pairs which share a territory some 4-100 hectares in size - however, the two animals are usually found apart and only come together to breed. The territory is marked by both sexes by using dung heaps. When threatened, steenbok will hide by lying on the ground and freezing in order to avoid the danger. If the threat continues to approach, they will rocket away for a short distance and then try to hide again. Aardvark burrows may be used as refuges.

Family group: Solitary, although a stable pair (which meets up solely for breeding) shares one territory. Diet: Mostly leaves from shrubs and trees, but also fruits and grasses. Main Predators: All major predators, including wild cats (both large and small) and pythons. Infants may be hunted by smaller predators such as jackals, raptors, monitor lizards, and baboons.

Image

Image

We drove across the dune road slowly. We take a different strategy to most visitors in that we enjoy the different aspects of the dune roads and the possibility of seeing something different. After the steenbok we had nice sightings of kestrel's, PCG hunting, Northern Black Korhaan (male and female). We were about 16km across when SO asked me to reverse.

She got the bino's out and turned to me and said there is a cheetah over there - i looked and said you are mad. After telling me exactly where to look she was correct a cheetah in the middle of no where. This was on of the best spots on the trip and i still do not really know how she first spotted it.

We continued on the drive and had our first coffee break at Melkviei which also allowed us to stretch our legs. After the short stop we continued north towards Nossob but i must say this stretch of road has never been productive for us and today was no different.

We arrived at Nossob refuelled and bought some more ice, water, wood from the shop for our days at Gharagab. It was now around lunch time and instead of having lunch there we sorted it out and went to sit at Cubitje Quap so we could be entertained by the doves etc.

After lunch we hit the long road north towards the Gharagab turnoff.

_________________
2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:24 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:44 am
Posts: 557
Location: Pretoria
Day 3 - 5th October (Continued)

We continued north and bye now it was hot so the only real sightings was normal KTP animals drinking at the waterholes. We made good progress and reached the turn of to Gharagab. Sorry forgot to mention I engaged the hubs and drove from Nossob in 4x4 high.

This nice easy 4x4 drive was ahead of us:

Image

For those worried about this drive don't it really is simple.

We arrived safely at 3h45pm just as it was started to cool a little. We were allocated unit 3 which controls the lights at the waterhole. The reason for this was that we had the entire camp to ourselves for our 2 night stay which was a real bonus.

As we had a 2 night stay we unpacked quite a lot of stuff including our own table and chairs to make ourselves very comfortable. After unpacking we just sat on the deck and watched the shadows grow as the sun was setting behind us. The wind was still blowing and had actually strengthened. Keeps the temperature down but also animals away.

As we sat relaxing SO poured herself an Archer and lemonade but I had a decision to make. The reason for this was that my gin bottle was now socking into the sand at the bottom of the stairs at Urikaruus. Yes we broke it this morning while packing so whisky it was to be. Not complained (REALLY) you know what men are like but Johnnie Walker Black, water and lots of ice was not a bad substitute.

I lite the fire as once again tonight we were having chicken from the fridge with a variety of salads. The view was amazing and the silence fantastic.

Image

Image

For those that have not visited this camp before the units are above the waterhole which sits in a bowl with dunes on either side. As the sun started to disappear the little animals came out to play.

Image

The significance of the photo above we only realised in the morning. The barking gecko's started there evening ritual in full force to break the silence. The fire was now ready so I proceeded to cook the chicken as SO prepared the salads. We knew from previous experience to use the salad stuff early on the trip as it would not last in the heat.

We put the table cloth on and lite the candles. We had a nice dinner watching the frequent jackal visits to the waterhole. We had one come up and sit right in front of our unit which was nice but disturbing as it meant that visitors have been feeding them. After eating we just sat and soaked in our surrounding and we both agreed there cannot be a better place to find your soul and relax.

To end the prefect evening we turned the lights out at the waterhole around 10pm and were heading to bed when the lions started to roar. They were far away but in this camp any sound travels for miles. We went to sleep to this magnificent sound.

It had been a long day.

_________________
2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:22 am 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:44 am
Posts: 557
Location: Pretoria
Day 4 - 6th October

We woke at 6am just as the sun was starting to crest the dune in the far distance. After dragging ourselves out of bed we put on the kettle and went onto the deck. It to us a whole 5 seconds to turn around and go inside as it was fairly chilly and the wind had really strengthened during the night.

Even thou it is October the wind can make it chilly but luckily based on experience we had brought jackets and some warmer cloths with us. After digging out our jackets the kettle was boiled so we once again ventured onto the deck to watch the amazing sunrise this time warm and with coffee and rusks.

A brown hyena came to the waterhole for a drink but there was no hope of getting any photos so we had a chance to just focus and enjoy the sighting. After a while the birds started to awaken as well as the mice. The strong wind blow out the light on the geyser and Eric was very nice and came to fixed it for us.

Image

These mice had managed somehow to eat through a backpack and got to a packet of peanuts inside. From this point on we keep all food stuff in an ammo box when inside the units.

It was now around 9am and the wind had started to whip up the sand so we went inside and read books for a couple of hours. By around 11am it had calmed a little so we decide to have a brunch. I lite the fire and so made the bread mix.

Brunch we had around 12h30pm OK really lunch time now but it was great with fresh bread, fried tomato's, pork sausages, bacon and scrambled eggs. It was nice to have it on the deck and as we still had a breeze it was not to hot.

This was the setup for the afternoon.

Image

_________________
2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:37 am 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:44 am
Posts: 557
Location: Pretoria
Gatita – thought you might get that unit. I agree great to have control of the floodlight even thou it felt a bit weird.

Day 4 - 6th October (Continued)

As we were the only ones in camp we took a nice wander around as the animals at the waterhole were non-existent due to the strong wind. SO put the 10-20mm lenses on and we got the following shoots of the camp.

Looking South from observation tower:

Image

Image

Image

Image


Looking North from observation tower:

Image


As the sun started to set in the late afternoon the light was great and the wind started to dissipate bringing springbok and gemsbok to the waterhole and yes the mice came out to play.

Gemsbok

Like other animals found in desert regions the Gemsbok is efficient at preventing water loss from their bodies. They do not need surface water for survival, as they obtain enough moisture through the vegetation they eat. Gemsbok urine is very concentrated and faecal pellets very dry. They are able to increase their body temperature in order to delay evaporative cooling through perspiration. At night when the ambient temperature drops, the stored heat in their body escapes and their body temperature drops to a normal state.

Gemsbok have an intricate network of blood vessels, situated in the nose which cool down the blood supplied to the brain, thus protecting the gemsbok from deadly temperatures. They also reduce heat absorption by keeping their cylindrical bodies angled away from the sun.

Image

Image

Image

Striped mouse

Communal nesting and paternal care

Groups typically consisted of one breeding male and up to four breeding females. The male was highly sociable, showing as much social interactions with juveniles as females did. They even retrieved pups presented in front of their nest into their nest. Videotaping inside natural nests indicated that the males were sleeping with the rest of the group, and that they showed parental care in the nest. Thus, our observations of paternal care in captivity were no laboratory artefacts, also occurs in the field.

A group has 2-4 breeding females. These females originate from the same group, which means they are closely related such as sisters or half-sisters, while the breeding male originates from another group. All or most adult females of a group give birth and are raised together. Sometimes a female leaves the group nest to give birth elsewhere and only returns with the pups when those are around 10 days old. The offspring remains in their natal group even after reaching adulthood. This is the case both for males as well as for females. Interestingly, these offspring normally do not start to reproduce themselves, even when they are sexually mature and the breeding season is not yet over. Both juvenile and adult offspring help in nest construction, territory defence and warming younger pups in the nest. This why they are called helpers at the nest.

Image


It was now late afternoon therefore it was sun downer time in a prefect venue. The lions started roaring just as the darkness commenced and continued for a long time but going away from camp. The barking gecko’s provided the sound track again for dinner. Tonight it was assorted cold meat and salad with some fresh bread. Here is my attempt to show you what the waterhole looks like with the light on:

Image

After spending a good few hours watching the night time activity at the waterhole we went inside to shower and prepare for bed. We eventually got into bed just after 11pm.

It had been a very nice relaxed day which we were happy about as we knew that from tomorrow we would be on game rich roads for the remainder of the trip.

_________________
2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 5:06 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:44 am
Posts: 557
Location: Pretoria
Day 5 - 7th October

We had a really sound sleep and woke earlier at 5h30am to get the sunrise. It was not as chilly as yesterday and the wind was basically gone. SO made coffee while I tried various setting to get the sunrise correct - remember I take very few photos but she told me to try as she really wanted a cup of coffee.

She brought out the coffee and rusks and was having a good giggle at me as I was still trying to get the sunrise. Below is my final effort. Can you think of a better view to wake up to!

Image

After sitting and watching the suns rays spread over the dunes the first animals arrived at the waterhole and it became busy which could only mean the lions had moved far away during the night.

Gemsbok

Gemsbok are polygynous. The resident bull of the herd mates with receptive females. Solitary territorial males are known to attempt to herd mixed or nursery herds onto their territories, thereby securing exclusive mating access to the females.

Mating System: polygynous

There is not a specific breeding season for gemsbok, though young within a herd tend to be of similar ages, indicating a reproductive synchrony in females. Females become sexually mature at about 2 years of age, and can conceive almost immediately after an 8.5 month gestation. Gemsbok are classified as "hiders", meaning the young are not seen present with the mother, but are hidden in the general vicinity, with the mother returning to nurse the calf 2 to 3 times each day. The young weigh between 9 and 15 kg at birth. At birth, calves are entirely brown in colour. They develop the characteristic markings at about 3.5 months. At this point, the young are weaned. The males disperse and females join the maternal herd about a month after weaning.

Breeding interval: Gemsbok tend to breed every 9 months, and usually with little time between giving birth and becoming pregnant again.

Breeding season: Breeding season is year round, pending water availability.

Range number of offspring: 1 to 2.

Average number of offspring: 1.

Average gestation period: 8.5 months.

Average weaning age: 3.5 months.

Average time to independence: 4.5 months.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 1.5 to 2 years.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 2 years.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 1.5 to 2 years.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 2 years.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); post-partum estrous

Average birth mass: 12000 g.

Average gestation period: 270 days.

Average number of offspring: 1.

Like most ungulates, pregnant gemsbok isolate themselves from the herd before calving. The single neonate is kept concealed, usually within sight of the mother. This hiding behaviour continues up to six weeks of age, ending with reconciliation with the herd.

Males are not reported to participate directly in parental care, so the feeding, sheltering, protection, and grooming of the young are all accomplished by the mother. As is the case with most bovids, the young are able to stand shortly after birth, and can move around with the mother as needed.

Image

The above photo gives an indication that the sun gets difficult but you can still get photo's but not easily.

We felt like sitting here the whole morning but unfortunately we had to move on as we were staying at Nossob tonight. We packed all the stuff into the van and said goodbye to Eric. We departed on the exit road at 7h45am.

We again elected to take a slow drive and the animal spoor and general sightings were good. We spotted our one and only black shoulder kite of the trip but it was to far for decent photo. The following sequence of photo's shows that sometimes patience does get rewarded as the jackal started of far away so we turned off our engine and sat quietly hoping it would come closer.

Black Backed Jackal

Mass:
Male: 6 to 11 kg. Female: 5 to 10 kg

Lifespan:
Can be up to 13 years

Breeding:
Mating takes place during the winter months. Between 1 and 6, but sometimes (although very seldom) up to 9 or 10 cubs, are born from July to November depending on the region, area and rains.

Gestation:
About 2 months

Diet - Food and water:
They are hunters and scavengers with a very acute sense of smell. Their diet consists of a wide range of food including small antelope, hares, reptiles, rodents, insects, birds and eggs. Some types of wild fruit and berries that have fallen to the ground are also eaten. Domesticated sheep (lambs) and young goats are often killed by them as well as chickens. They also scavenge for carrion. Because of their adaptability, Black-back Jackals are not really water dependent, but will drink water on a regular basis if available.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

_________________
2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:05 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:44 am
Posts: 557
Location: Pretoria
Day 5 - 7th October (Continued)

We are still on the Gharagab exit road and we then can across another steenbok where we adopted the same strategy as with the jackal.

Steenbok

Mass:
Male: 9 – 13 Kilograms
Female: 11 – 13 Kilograms

Breeding:
Mainly in summer but could be any time of year. The lamb is hidden by the ewe for a few weeks up to a few months and she returns daily to clean the lamb and let the lamb suckle.

Gestation period:
168 to 173 days - about 5 and a half months.

Lifespan:
6- 7 years

Image

Image

Image

Image

We continued on the exit road and spend about 20 minutes watching the goings on with the ground squirrels. this is a good road to do this as you know it is only you and the animal.

Ground Squirrel

The South African Ground Squirrel does not hibernate. These squirrels are very social and live in groups with about 1 to 3 females and 2 to 3 males. Sometimes, the number of males can exceed up to 9 with some sub-adult females. An interesting thing about this breed is that mature males like to form their own groups and there can be 19 to 20 individuals in one group. These groups are called bands.

Their home range is shared with other groups which is actually quite a surprising thing, since in case of most of the mammals there is generally an extremely tough competition to get the female. The group-living instinct of this species gives it a survival opportunity from predators overweighing the disadvantage of breeding opportunities which come from competition.

Image

There were many birds along this road and the scenery was outstanding. without question this is one of my favourite drives in the entire park.

Just as we were about to re-join the main road we eventually got an opportunity to shoot what I think is an ant eating chat.

Image

Once we reach the main road was to either drive north a bit or drive south straight to Nossob for our next overnight stop?

_________________
2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:35 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:44 am
Posts: 557
Location: Pretoria
Day 5 - 7th October (Continued)

It was now 10am so we decided to head south. We drove up slowly up to Lijersdraai waterhole. As we approached we saw no animals which meant predator nearby. We saw these spotted hyena in the shade.

Before showing the photo's there are sightings on a trip that really tug at the emotions and for us this was one of them. Even as I processed the photo's the emotions came flooding back. It reminded us that nature can be cruel and not everything is a picnic.

I will let the photo's do the talking!

Spotted Hyena

Hyenas usually bear litters of two to four cubs, which, unlike the other two species, are born with their eyes open. Cubs begin to eat meat from kills near the den at about 5 months, but they are suckled for as long as 12 to 18 months, an unusually long time for carnivores. This is probably a necessity, as most kills are made far from the den, and hyenas, unlike jackals and hunting dogs, do not bring back food and regurgitate it for their young. At about 1 year, cubs begin to follow their mothers on their hunting and scavenging forays. Until then, they are left behind at the den with a babysitting adult.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

This is not the end of the story but I need to keep my trip report in some kind of order so can only finish the story later.

_________________
2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:21 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:44 am
Posts: 557
Location: Pretoria
Day 5 - 7th October (Continued)

Yes I am still on the same day and yes still on the morning drive which has produced some nice sightings. We were now heading south and checking each waterhole which were quiet except for normal animals and sun was not great for photo's till we came across this:

ID help please Martial Eagle or Black Chested Snake Eagle or neither?

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

We opened the gate at Nossob at 12.50pm and went to check in for our one nights camping. The reason behind the Nossob stay was to basically recharge items that could not be charged in the car and were better suited to charging at 240volts. We again stocked up with water 6 x 5l water and 8 x wood plus. We found a nice came site and set up camp for the day as our plan was not to drive but rearrange and charge what we could and I wanted to go for a swim. It was now around 2pm and we started to suspect we had a problem the number of bees was hectic. At first we thought it might just be our camp site but after some investigation realised that the entire Nossob camp had a bee issue.

_________________
2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 4:32 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:44 am
Posts: 557
Location: Pretoria
Day 5 - 7th October (Continued)

After selecting the camp site we setup and rearranged a few things.

Image

Image

I proceed to go for a swim which was nice to cool down in the midday heat but unfortunately I got stung by a bee. This was a first time I can remember being stung and actually it was quite sore.

SO just looked at me and point to the ground with a smile on her face.

Image

When I went for my swim she went to the shop and bought the gin. She saw it when we were buying wood earlier but wanted to surprise me. She certainly did that and I think the entire camp looked at me strangely as I danced around my bottle.

We proceeded to do the best we could for the rest of the afternoon to avoid getting any more stings but still continuing with what we needed to achieve this proved quite difficult as the bees were very active. I decided to take some photo's of the doves to keep my mind of the bees.

Image

Image

Image

Image

We were both grateful when sunset appeared as this seemed to solve the issue with the bees. Tonight was to be our first real traditional braai on the trip we had chops, baked potatoes and onion which we consumed with a fair amount of alcohol. We ended up in our rooftop tent at 9.30pm and had a very good nights sleep.

_________________
2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:46 am 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:44 am
Posts: 557
Location: Pretoria
Day 6 - 8th October

As we had a bee issue we elected to get up early at 4h45am and pack up well before the bees awoke. We boiled water for the road on our gas bottle and had our camped packed up in good time. It was nice relaxing watching the general activities as the camp started to wake to prepare for there day ahead.

We checked out the camp waterhole and them collected our permit. We stopped at Cubitje Quap for coffee / rusks and watch the doves start to go for there morning drink.

Image

Image

Image

Image

We also spotted PCG and jackals at the waterhole looking for breakfast.

Image

We stopped at all the waterholes going north as per usual.

_________________
2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 6:02 am 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:44 am
Posts: 557
Location: Pretoria
Day 6 - 8th October 9Continued)

It was still relatively early morning as we left Cubitje Quap to head north. As we had spend quite a bit of time there the majority of the traffic was ahead of us by quite some time. We continued to drive slowly and this was our next sighting:

Bat Eared Fox

A bat-eared fox family has several den holes in its territory, each with many entrances, tunnels, and chambers. The foxes' claws are made for digging, and they can create their own burrow or enlarge an empty one made by another animal. They are even known to use old termite mounds as dens. The den is a protected area where the group sleeps and also where the females give birth. Animals that prey on bat-eared foxes include eagles, jackals, and hyenas.

When it comes to taking care of its youngest members, a bat-eared fox clan is a lesson in teamwork. The mother gives birth to up to six babies, called kits. About the size of domestic kittens, fox kits look a lot like Chihuahua pups but with much larger ears! The pups start to emerge from the den when 8 to 12 days old. Often, one or two of the smaller kits die in the first three weeks. The mother fox nurses her kits for 10 to 15 weeks, but unlike other canids, she rarely regurgitates solid food for them, as it would have a lot of hard insect parts that the kits could not digest. The father often brings food to the pups or watches them while the mother forages for her own food. He teaches his offspring how to forage and plays and grooms them, too. The young are fully grown by the time they're 6 months old, and females can reach their first breeding period at 18 months.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

The reason I have posted a good few photo's of the BEF is that it was the only ones we saw in the entire 25 day trip and after speaking to other visitors they have proved to be few and far between this year.

_________________
2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:57 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:44 am
Posts: 557
Location: Pretoria
Day 6 - 8th October (Continued)

After the BEF we reached Kwang which was quiet so we decided to continue north to Bedinkt for a break and our next cup of coffee. While we where sitting relaxing SO could not resist taking this little creatures. (Lionspoon this time they look like squirrels :pray: :pray:)

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Also hanging around at the waterhole quenching their thirst.

Wildebeest

After a gestation period of 8 - 9 months, Wildebeest give birth to a single calf. All wildebeest give birth 2 - 3 weeks before the rainy season and within 15 minutes of being born, a youngster is able to stand.

When the calf reaches 4 months old they are weaned, although sometimes they will suckle until they are a year old. Females reach sexual maturity at 1.5 - 2.5 years of age, while males reach sexual maturity at 3 - 4 years of age.

Image

Gemsbok

Image

Image

Image

Image

_________________
2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:09 am 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:44 am
Posts: 557
Location: Pretoria
Day 6 - 8th October (Continued)

On our drive north the waterholes got quieter as it was starting to heat up. We did manage to catch.

Namaqua Sandgrouse

Breeding takes place at any time of the year and is dependant on rainfall. Usually the nests are solitary but sometimes several pairs of birds choose sites near each other. The nest is a scrape in the earth, scantily lined with dried plant material. Two or three pinkish-grey eggs with brown markings are laid over the course of a few days. Incubation starts after the last egg has been laid and lasts about 22 days. The female does the incubation by day and the male does a longer shift at night, starting about two hours before sunset and finishing two hours after dawn. The chicks are precocial and able to leave the nest on the day they are hatched. The male brings them water absorbed on the specially adapted feathers of his breast. The chicks grow rapidly; they are fully feathered at three weeks and able to fly at six.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Blue Headed/throated Agama

Males: Tend to be bigger than the females, with a large head and a broad yellow/green vertebral stripe, their main colouration being a grey/brown. They display a Blue head during breeding season, when feeding and at the hottest parts of the day. Male Atricollis have large teeth at the jaw apex this helps them to chew bigger prey. You can search for many pictures of them online showing complete body colouring they rarely reach this in captivity but do still have some fantastic colours. Their colours change very quickly due to their scaling. A full size adult male will be around the 15 inches head to tail, the tail making up more than half of the total length. Nose to vent in an adult male being 5-6 inches.

Females: They tend to be an olive colour with black marbling, the patterning on their backs being very distinctive. They also display, mainly when gravid, two series of orange to yellow dorsal spots.

Image

We are now near Lijersdraai and SO turns to me and says wonder what if anything we will see today.

_________________
2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Exploring KTP In October
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:31 am 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:44 am
Posts: 557
Location: Pretoria
Trrp-trrrrrrrr - Glad you are on board and enjoying. yes lots more to come.

barryels - Thanks for the nice comments and the campsites at Nossob are very nice. It has taken us a few years to get all the gear but it was well worth the effort.

gatita - Thank you for the nice words and sorry you did not see any BEF's they really were scarce.

hilda - Thanks and regarding the dove photo's they really are the classic photo to show KTP so we had to take some. I few times on the trip we had waterholes that were busy but it was mostly in the middle of the day making photo's a challenge due to the sun.

Pumbaa - I am with you I wish I had more BEF to post as they are one of my favourites but they were not around this year for some reason.

Nina! - Thanks for information on the picnic spots and as you said there were bees everywhere. More to come I promise.

Lionspoon - you right I think I should get Penny to write, edit and process the photo's for the next instalment. you might get it in 2014. These photographer's thing the hard bit is taking the photos haha. thank you for the nice comments and as you said BEF was scare as we really looked for them.

SurfCindy - thank you and I am so glad you are enjoying the report.

MxM - yes there is a gas stove to boil water but some camps not the best and it takes long so sometimes we utilise our own gas bottle. The little guys can provide hours of entertainment if you have the patience.

Son godin - I also like the one starring into the log which is a little bit different. Regarding the young ones only really springbok, we saw one gemsbok little one but no wildebeest.

Carol g - Yes we had an amazing time and KTP remains a special place.

barryels - thank you for the nice comments.

_________________
2011 September KTP - 17 days

I am against hotels in KNP


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 102 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 7  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Toddelelfe and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group

Webcams Highlights

Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by Stampajane at 17:58:07 Submitted by avidspotter at 20:54:11 Submitted by avidspotter at 18:31:46 Submitted by salamanda at 19:02:24